Indian military delegation to visit China
7 January 2012Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 7 JAN: In an overnight change of stance, India today decided to go ahead with sending the military delegation to China as scheduled next week but scaled it down from 30 to 15 after visa was denied to a senior IAF officer hailing from Arunachal Pradesh.
Sources said the Staff Officers' delegation will travel to China from 10 January as scheduled as part of defence exchanges programme. However, instead of 30 members as decided earlier, the delegation will comprise 15 members drawn from all the three services, they said.
The decision marks a change of stance as the government had yesterday put on hold the visit in response to the provocative action by China of denying visa to IAF Group Captain M Panging, who hails from Arunachal and was to be part of the delegation.
The delegation is to visit Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai during the four-day trip. China, which lays claim over Arunachal Pradesh, has often denied visa to those hailing from the state despite protests by India.
The visit by Indian military delegation is reciprocal to the one undertaken by the Chinese last month and is part of the confidence building measures between the two sides.
Earlier in 2010, China had denied visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt-Gen. BS Jaswal as he was serving in Jammu and Kashmir, leading to souring of bilateral relations.
Lt-Gen. Jaswal was to head a military delegation to China under the defence exchange programme. The ice was broken when India sent a delegation under a Major General in June last year. After that visit, two more visits took place between the two sides.