India, China to resume defence exchanges

India, China to resume defence exchanges

New Delhi is sending an eight-member delegation of Indian Army to visit China from June 19 to 24 next. The delegation will be led by Maj Gen Gurmeet Singh, the commander of the Delta Force of the Rashtriya Rifles deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

India had freezed all its defence exchanges with China in April 2010, after Beijing had declined to accept a proposal for a visit by Lt Gen B S Jaswal, the then chief the Northern Command of the Indian Army. Beijing had told New Delhi that it would not let him visit China as his operational area had included J&K, which it regards as a disputed territory.

India retaliated by denying visa to three officers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, who had wanted to come for short visits to National Defence College in New Delhi and Army Education Corps Training College & Centre at Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh. It had also put off defence exchanges.

Sources in New Delhi on Thursday pointed out that though China had declined to let Lt Gen Jaswal, it had finally agreed to accept Maj Gen Singh as the leader of the visiting Indian Army delegation. Like Lt Gen Jaswal, the operational area of Maj Gen Singh too included J&K, they pointed out. After Lt Gen Jaswal’s visit to China had been called off in April 2010, New Delhi had lodged a strong protest against China’s ploy to indirectly question the status of J&K, which it maintained as an integral part of India.

Since November 2009, New Delhi has also been persistently protesting against Beijing’s policy of issuing “stapled visas”—and not regular visas pasted on passports—to people from J&K, which is also seen as yet another Chinese style of negating India’s claim on the State.

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