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Chinese defense minister General Wei Fenghe arrives tomorrow for talks

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The Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe arrives in India leading a large 24 members high level delegation tomorrow  on 21st August Tuesday  for a three days visit to hold talks with Indian Defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi, sources said.

This is the highest level visit by the Chinese side after the 73 days Doklam stand off between two armies and the subsequent Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra  Modi and President Xi Jinping.

A high level five member advance team of Chinese PLA Peoples Liberation army has already reached Delhi on 19th and is busy with the officials of Indian Army and defense ministry to prepare the templates for the talks between two defense ministers with the largest armies in the world which are at the loggerhead with each other over the contentious borders.

Ashok Kantha the director of the institute of Chinese studies says this visit will be an  “Important step towards a closer political dialogue” between the leadership of the two nations to build and enhance confidence among each other.

Defence Minister  Gen. Wei Fenghe is also currently a member of the 19th CPC Central Committee, a State Councilor, a member of the Leading Party Members’ Group of the State Council.

Gen. Wei Fenghe will call on Prime Minster Narendra Modi on 21th August and hold delegation level talks with Indian Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 22nd August.

Expectation are high on both sides of resolving  many contentious issues faced by both acrimonious neighbors due to many  recent high level visit by Military and civilian delegation after the PM Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping issued strategic  directives to the respective militaries  after the Wuhan summit.

Sources in the Indian Military establishment say that they expect to finalize an agreement to have hot-lines between the two armies which is stuck due to protocol issues.

The both side are expected to arrive at a solution to have parallel hot-lines between the Western Theater command at Chengdu of the Chinese PLA and all three– Eastern Command at Kolkata, Central command at Lucknow and Northern command at Udhampur  of the Indian Army In-charge of nearly 3500 Km long  border between two neighbours  and a hot-line between DGMO , Director General Military Operations of India in New Delhi  and the officials of CMC Central Military Committee of China in Beijing.

Many more BPM border personnel meeting points for the local military commanders of either sides to meet and resolve the issues and avoid escalations are to be finalized during the talks.

Right now there are only five BPM points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Bum La and Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, Daulat Beg Oldi and Chushul in Ladakh, and Nathu La in Sikkim.

The Joint border Patrolling proposed by the Chinese PLA is being opposed by the Indian Army as this may lead to soldiers from both sides jostling with each other at places where both sides have different perception of LAC Line of control and overlapping  claims on the areas under control.

The Chinese PLA has started joint patrolling of borders with the Pakistan Army.

The high level Indian army delegation visiting China from 13th to 18th August led by Lt. Gen Abhay  Krishna , General Officer Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Command comprising the officials of Northern and the Central command of the Indian army is expected back on 20th after extending the visit to Chinese PLA western theater command head quarters in Chengdu , Lhasa and Beijing.

This  delay has raised hopes of the  positive outcome of talks between two Defence ministers.

The statement made by Ram Madhav the General Secretory and the de-facto  diplomatic ambassador of the ruling BJP on his recent visit to Beijing  that the  dispute over a “large segment” of the border with China had been resolved, barring the Western sector, and the negotiations were moving in the positive direction and that both sides have resolved all the issues on eastern front have given a ray of hope  that the two sides may build a foundation during this visit  leading to a resolution of the highly contentious border disputes  festering for many decades.

Gen Wei Fenghe is a close confident of President Xi Jinping actively supported Xi  during Military overhaul and the big anti corruption purge in PLA . Within eight days of taking over as the Chairman of CMC ,Xi Jinping promoted Wei as a full General, youngest at the age of 58 .

Known as “quiet achiever”  Gen. Wei  transformed  PLA into a lean and mean fighting force by reducing the size and focusing on new technology in warfare.

Wei joined the PLA rocket forces at the age of 16. At 21, he studied rocket engineering at a missile school under the Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. At the age of 56 he became the youngest Dy chief of the General Staff Department.

With a philosophy of “doing more but saying less” Wei while heading the  Strategic missiles forces of PLA divided it into Rocket force and the strategic support force,which is now evolving  into a Space force of the PLA.

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