Rajnath to discuss security cooperation in China

Shivraj Patil was the last Home Minister who had visited China in 2005.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to China on Wednesday, the first trip by an Indian Home Minister to the country in a decade, during which he will discuss ways to boost security ties and smuggling of arms to Northeast militants.

Mr. Singh’s six-day visit comes in the backdrop of steady improvement of relations between the two countries while streamlining mechanisms to address the vexed border dispute.

“I am looking forward to my visit to China. Hope it would help in deepening of mutual understanding and trust. During my China visit I intend to further strengthen the tradition of mutual learning and better understanding from each other,” he said in a statement in New Delhi.

Shivraj Patil was the last Home Minister who had visited China in 2005.

During his visit, Mr. Singh, the second highest ranking Indian leader after Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit China in May this year, would spend three days in Beijing followed by a three-day stay in Shanghai.

Besides holding talks with his counterparts in China’s political dispensation, Mr. Singh is also expected to call on Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

His visit closely follows a rare visit by China’s topmost military official to India.

Gen Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), visited India and Pakistan last week, also the first tour by China’s highest ranking military official to both the countries in a decade.

Mr. Singh’s visit is considered to be an opportunity to consolidate efforts by both sides to build political trust initiated during the visits of President Xi Jinping to India last year followed by Mr. Modi’s trip to China.

While the issues relating to standoffs at the border between both the troops were being addressed by the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC), Singh’s visit is expected to firm up security cooperation in various fronts.

China for its part has pressed huge number of security forces to crackdown on al-Qaeda-linked East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) militants in Xinjiang who had bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

India too faces the constant threat of cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan across the Line of Control.

Besides issues relating to terrorism, Singh’s talks are expected to crystallise security cooperation between the two countries including more effective crackdown by China in limiting arms supplies to militant groups in Northeaster states.

The lessons in combating terrorism by the forces of the two countries have formed an integral part of five rounds of the annual Sino-Indian joint military exercises.