India-China diplomatic row, def exchanges on hold

Last Updated: Friday, August 27, 2010 - 21:02

New Delhi: Triggering a major diplomatic
row, China has refused to permit an Indian army general to
visit that country as he is in-charge of "sensitive" Jammu
and Kashmir, prompting an angry retaliation by India which put
all defence exchanges with it on hold till the matter was
sorted out.

India, which has already lodged its protest with China
for denying permission to Northern Commander Lt Gen B S
Jaswal, today said the Chinese action amounts to questioning
the status of Jammu and Kashmir which is "unacceptable" as it
relates to the country`s sovereignty.

In a retaliatory action, New Delhi refused permission to
three Chinese officers -- a Senior Colonel and two Captains --
to visit this country in August.

Gen Jaswal, General Officer-in-Commanding of Udhampur-
based Command, was to visit China as part of defence
exchanges, sources said today.

The visit by a General-rank officer to China was agreed
upon between the two countries in January during the Annual
Defence Dialogue, the sources said.

However, at that time it was not decided as to who will
be sent by India, they said.

When India conveyed its decision to send Gen Jaswal,
China wrote back on July 21 saying it would cause "difficulty"
as the officer came from "sensitive location of Jammu and
Kashmir", the sources said.

China also said "people from this part of the world come
with a different kind of visa" and suggested that India may
send some other officer instead of cancelling the visit.

Angry at the Chinese move, India issued to it a demarche
(protest note) on August two.

It also retaliated by refusing permission to a Senior
Colonel who had to deliver a "guest lecture" at National
Defence College and two Captains who were to visit Panchmarhi
for some course.

Sources said the denial of permission to Gen Jaswal was a
"matter of concern" as it has "introduced further
complexities" in the already complex relations.

New Delhi made it clear that the defence exchanges will
remain "on hold" till the issue concerning China`s position on
Jammu and Kashmir is addressed.

"Whatever will be the consequences, the Chinese side will
be solely responsible," a source said.

PTI




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