Defence Minister A K Antony who joined his Chinese counterpart Gen Liang Guanglie at the delegation-level talks, accepted the invitation to visit Beijing next year.
During the 90-minute talks, the two sides also agreed upon high-level official exchanges, training of armed forces personnel at each other's facilities and maritime security cooperation between the two Navies.
Gen Liang is the first Chinese Defence Minister to visit India in eight years. The last visit by an Indian Defence Minister to China was in 2006.
Terming the delegation-level talks as “very fruitful”, Antony said, “We have decided that (to resume Army-to-Army exercises) and I have also accepted the invitation by him to visit China sometime next year as per mutual convenience.
He said during the talks, the two sides held discussions about “improving relations at the border areas and the situation in the South Asia and Asia Pacific region”.
The two sides are understood to have discussed the American plans to shift bulk of its Navy to the Asia Pacific region and the presence of Chinese troops in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) region.
The Chinese Defence Minister said the two countries have “reached consensus for cooperation” and reviewed the progress made by the two sides.
“We reached consensus for cooperation between the sides in various fields including exchange of high-level visits, exchange of young officers and also the armed forces personnel training, inter-college exchanges and non-traditional security fields,” Gen Liang said through his interpreter. Cooperation between the two navies and maritime security also came up, he said.
The Chinese Defence Minister said this was the year of “friendship and cooperation” between India and China and the two countries should make the most of this opportunity.
Military exercises between the two countries had started in 2007 but were put on hold in 2010 after a series of hiccups in the defence ties between the two sides.
The first exercise was held in Kunming, China in 2007 and the second in Belgaum in India in 2008. The third edition was to have been held in China in 2010 but has since remained stalled.
After the denial of visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal by the Chinese in 2010, New Delhi had frozen all bilateral defence exchanges with Beijing.
The defence exchanges were revived in the recent times but there have been still some hiccups as China has been refusing to grant visas to armed forces officers from Arunachal Pradesh -- an Indian state over which China lays its claim.
A Defence Ministry spokesperson later said, “It was agreed by the two sides to conduct the next round of joint military exercises at the earliest.
“They also agreed to strengthen border security cooperation between the border troops of the two sides so as to enhance and maintain peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas,” he said.
He said the two countries also agreed to “promote port calls by naval ships of the two sides and conduct joint maritime search and rescue exercises”.
The two sides decided to further enhance and strengthen cooperation between the naval forces in counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.
India and China have been carrying out coordinated patrols in the piracy-infested areas in Gulf of Aden along with Japan to escort merchant ships safely across the Gulf of Aden.
“Both Ministers agreed that expanding bilateral cooperation between the defence ministries and armed forces of India and China helps enhance mutual trust, deepens friendship and promotes comprehensive development of the India-China strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity,” the spokesperson said.