03 November 2008 -- Air Chief Marshal FH Major, the Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force has arrived in China for week-long visit till 06 Nov 08, for strengthening Air Force to Air Force cooperation.
Air Chief Marshal Fali Major arrived in Beijing, at the invitation of General Xu Qiliang, Commander of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (PLA AF), for a vist to China from 02nd to 06th Nov 2008. 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 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 and visit 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 high level contacts between the two countries.
In May 2006, during the visit of Mr Pranab Mukherjee, the then Defence Minister, 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 frame work 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 Nov 2007. India and China also held their first Joint Training Exercise in Kunming in Dec 2007.
The visit by the Indian Chief of Air Staff is expected to deepen understanding and strengthen mutual confidence between the two armed forces.