Beijing, July 4: Defence Minister A K Antony's visit to China starting on Thursday will coincide with that of Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani Prime Minister. The twin visits are set to give an added significance to South Asian regional politics, more because Antony will discuss among others, issues related to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir with the Chinese leaders.
Antony's visit is also significant for it will be first time that top leaders from both countries will be taking up the issue since the Chinese troops intruded into the Indian territory in Ladakh region. India and China had a diplomatic row over the incursions ahead of the visit of China's new Premier Li Keqiang to India in May.
There is, however, no scope for an Antony-Sharif meeting in Beijing, although both will be talking on similar issues with Beijing authorities from different angles. This will give Beijing an advantage in the dual negotiations with the two south Asian neighbours.
Antony is the first defence minister to visit China in seven years while Sharif's China visit is his first foreign trip after coming to power for the third time.