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China's defence minister to visit India by year-end

China's defence minister to visit India by year-end
FILE PHOTO - China's Defense Minister Wei Fenghe speaks during a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Bayi Building in Beijing, China, June 27, 2018. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS   -   Copyright  POOL(Reuters)
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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s defence minister, Wei Fenghe, will visit India by the end of this year, following an invitation from the South Asian nation, defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told a monthly news briefing on Thursday.

China and India almost came to blows last year at the Doklam plateau near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan, and China, in the most serious and prolonged standoff in decades along the disputed Himalayan border.

They subsequently withdrew their troops and have worked hard to mend ties, through meetings between Chinese President Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other steps but remain deeply suspicious of each other.

They have also been competing for influence in other nations that have traditionally been close to New Delhi, such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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