Friday, August 27, 2010

Demarche issued as China refuses visa to army officer

Relations between India and China have hit a new low with New Delhi issuing a strong protest after Beijing refused visa to one of its top army commanders.

China denied entry to Lt Gen B.S. Jaswal, general officer commanding-in-chief of northern area command, saying he was responsible for Jammu and Kashmir, a state that Beijing considers as disputed.

Retaliating to the snub, India refused permission to two Chinese defence officials to do a course at the National Defence College. A subsequent visit by Indian military officials to China was also cancelled.
India has conveyed its anger over the denial of visa in strong terms. Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yang was summoned by the external affairs ministry and handed over four demarches. Yang met Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary in charge of China.

"The defence minister has taken a strong view. Talks on the issue will go on," said Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur.

Sources in the external affairs ministry told Headlines Today that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is concerned and has said the matter would be taken up with China.

Colonel Jaishankar, the defence attache in Beijing, too has lodged an official protest with the Chinese defence ministry.

Lt Gen Jaswal's visit to China had been agreed upon in January. The Indian defence establishment had started preparations for the visit in June.

Army says no to military interaction with China
The army has reacted strongly to the denial of visa. Army sources said there will be no military interactions with China until Beijing took corrective action.

The sources said the army is waiting for guidance from the government on whether protocol for border meetings will change now. The army has been told that its anger has been conveyed to the Chinese government.

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