Speaking highly of the progress made in defense cooperation over the past few years, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told visiting Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan on Monday that the two countries should continue to safeguard the peace and stability along their borders, in the region and in the rest of the world.
Referring to India and China as good neighbors and good friends, Vajpayee said that developing a long-term and constructive partnership conforms to the interests of the two peoples.
Cao, who is also vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and a state councilor, said that bilateral relations have made gratifying progress over the past few years thanks to the concerted efforts made by the leaders of the two countries. He added that exchanges and cooperation in the realms of politics, economy, culture, science, technology and defense have been strengthened.
He noted that China hopes to increase cooperation between the two countries' military forces, which will bolster their mutual understanding and friendship.
"I hope that China and India will become eternal good neighbors, good partners and good friends, and that the two peoples will live in peace with each other from generation to generation," Cao added.
At the invitation of Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes, Cao arrived in New Delhi on Friday for a five-day official visit.
(Xinhua News Agency March 30, 2004)