China: No word from India on military exchanges

China: No word from India on military exchanges

China today said it had not received word from New Delhi that it had suspended military exchanges, despite Indian media reports that relations had been put on hold after Beijing refused to grant a visa to a top Indian army general from a disputed territory.

An anonymous senior Indian official was quoted in the Hindu newspaper on Saturday as saying that future military exchanges and a joint exercise between Indian and Chinese defence forces would remain suspended until China resolves the issue.

"China did not suspend military exchanges with India, nor did it receive any communication from India about a suspension of exchanges between the two militaries," China's Ministry of National Defence said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press in response to questions.

The Indian army spokesman Virendra Singh declined to comment. Indian officials routinely refuse to speak on the record to the media on what the government defines as sensitive matters, including relations with China.

But China's Defence Ministry hinted at possible friction between the sides, saying both have been working on implementing this year's planned military exchanges, but that it was "very normal to have different points of view" during specific consultations. It did not elaborate.

"We believe both sides can focus on the overall situation of bilateral relations, based on the principle of consultation and consensus, to promote the healthy and stable development of the two militaries' relations," it said.

Indian media reports said the suspension was New Delhi's response to Beijing denying a visa for Indian army Lt Gen B S Jaswal, who was scheduled to join a military delegation to China.

Jaswal was denied a visa because he is responsible for army operations in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, a disputed territory, the reports said.
All of the Himalayan region of Kashmir is claimed by India and Pakistan, an ally of China. China also claims part of northeastern Kashmir that it says is part of Tibet.

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