India, China to resume defence dialogue

Beijing argued that it would not be in a position to welcome Jaswal as he was serving in Jammu and Kashmir, which China considers a “sensitive area”.

Interestingly, Jaswal in the past, visited China as the commander of Tezpur-based 4 Corps that looks after Arunachal Pradesh – considered disputed territory by China. Reacting strongly, New Delhi had denounced Beijing's stand and suspended all military transactions. The main casualty was the third edition of bilateral hand-in-hand exercise. The first two editions took place in Kunming province in 2007 and in Belgaum in 2008. But the third edition is on hold because of strained bilateral relations.

“India and China will have a structured dialogue. The fourth round of defence dialogue at secretary level will take place very soon,” defence minister A K Antony said on Wednesday after addressing the navy commanders here.

Incidentally a day before, the defence ministry refused permission to the Chinese defence secretary Ma Xiaotian for holding a bilateral discussion on May 31 claiming an extremely busy calender for the coming week. On his return from Sri Lanka in the first week of June, Xiaotian wanted to halt in New Delhi for bilateral talks. “But we said our hands are already full. On May 30-31 there will be Indo-Pakistan defence secretary level talks in Delhi. On May 31, German Defence Minister is coming along with the German Chancellor. On June 1, Afghan Defence Minister is coming," Antony said.

“If the Chinese general is keen to come, he is welcome. The defence secretary will meet him happily and have some informal discussions. But a structured dialogue is out of question as the time is too short,” said an official.

To prepare the ground work for the bilateral discussions, an eight member Army delegation led by Maj Gen Gurmeet Singh, commanding officer of Delta Force would visit China in the second half of June.

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