NEW DELHI - India and China plan to restart joint military exercises soon, Indian officials said on Tuesday, as visiting Chinese defense minister General Liang Guanglie sought to soothe New Delhi's nerves about Beijing's growing footprint in South Asia.

On the first trip by a Chinese defense minister to New Delhi in eight years, Liang and his Indian counterpart discussed security in the Asia-Pacific region, where India's competition for resources and influence has added to Chinese concerns about the US 'pivot' to Asia.

Liang's visit comes at a time when Beijing is grappling with a change of leadership and friction in the South China Sea. It should help avoid flare-ups along China's long and heavily fortified border with India.

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