New Delhi, Nov 3 : To deepen understanding and strengthen mutual confidence between the armed forces of India and China, Air Chief Marshal FH Major is in China for strengthening Air Force to Air Force cooperation.
Air Chief Marshal Major arrived in Beijing, at the invitation of General Xu Qiliang, Commander of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (PLA AF), for a visit to China from November 2-6.
The visit is an important milestone in bilateral defence exchanges as it is the second ever visit of the Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force to China, coming seven years after Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis visited China in May 2001.
Air Chief Marshal FH Major was welcomed by a guard of Honour at the PLA AF Headquarters in Beijing.
He met General Xu Qiliang, Commander of the PLA AF and held discussions on bilateral issues. He will also be meeting the Chinese Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie during his visit.
The Air Force Chief will also be visiting military units in Hangzhou and also witness the Zhuhai Airshow in which the Indian Air Forces' Aerobatic Team, the Surya Kirans will be participating. The Chief of Air Staff would be visiting the capital Air Defence Centre of PLAAF, and 28 Air Division.
There has been a steady expansion and consolidation of India-China relations in diverse spheres in recent years. Military to Military contacts have also expanded.
The Commander Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), Admiral Wu Shengli is visiting India concurrently, in a continuing exchange of highlevel contacts between the two countries.
In May 2006, during the visit of then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, a MoU on Exchanges and Cooperation between India and China in the field of Defence was signed.
The MoU laid a solid foundation and institutionalized the framework for further development of defence cooperation between the two countries.
The first ever Annual Defence Dialogue between India and China was held last year in November 2007. India and China also held their first Joint Training Exercise in Kunming in December 2007.