Friday, August 27, 2010

India, China Deny Visas to Each Others' Officers

India suspended defense exchanges with China Aug. 27 after Beijing refused a visa to an Indian army general from the Kashmir region, according to sources in the Indian defense ministry. In retaliation, New Delhi has refused visas to Chinese army officers, according to Indian foreign ministry sources.

But a senior ministry official said the incident has not affected bilateral defense ties.

Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal, who commands the Northern Area Command that has responsibility for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, had intended to travel to China in August for a high-level defense exchange.

"While we value our exchanges with China, there must be sensitivity to each others' concerns. Our dialogue with China on these issues is ongoing," an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

The Indian military has recently accelerated plans to buy arms and gear, such as BAE Systems ultralight 155mm guns, for deployment near the Chinese border.

The defense ministry has been concerned over the Chinese military buildup, a senior ministry official said.

India has stationed more multirole nuclear-capable Russian-built Su-30MKi aircraft near the border, and is improving roads and airbases in the region.

India and China fought a brief battle in 1962 over a territorial dispute

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