Beijing: Defence Minister AK Antony on Friday met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and held talks with his counterpart on a host of bilateral issues, including a new mechanism to boost security along the borders.

Antony, who arrived here on Thursday night on a four day visit, started off his tour with delegation level talks with Chinese Defence Minister General Chang Wanquan.

The talks lasted for an hour, officials said. Antony, the first Indian Defence Minister to visit China since 2006, later called on Premier Li and discussed the follow up steps initiated by both the countries after his historic visit last month.

Welcoming Antony, Li said China and India are important neigbours and partners. The peaceful coexistence of China and India is good blessing for both countries and Asia and also for promoting peace stability and development, he said.

Gen Wang later hosted a banquet in Antony's honour. The two sides are currently finalizing the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) aiming to improve mechanisms to prevent any tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the two countries made efforts to resolve the border dispute.

The two sides are also finalizing plans to hold military exercises later this year in China resuming it after 2008. Armies of India and China held their first exercises in 2007 at Belguam in Karnataka with plans to hold such events annually. Similar exercises were held in 2008 at China's Kunming city.

(Agencies)

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