New Delhi: India is likely to send the Air Force Chief to China only next year, in effect meaning that the incumbent Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne would not be able to undertake the visit as was earlier proposed.
The visit of the IAF chief proposed in September or October timeframe has been postponed. The visit by the Air Chief to to that country will be held only next year, highly-placed Defence Ministry sources said here.
Browne, who is also the Chairman, Chiefs of Staffs Committee, is scheduled to retire on December 31 this year after completing a tenure of around 30 months in office.
The trip was proposed in IAF chief`s annual foreign visit schedule but the final clearance from the authorities and the Ministry concerned were not received.
Defence Minister AK Antony had yesterday stated that it was incorrect that the IAF Chief`s visit to China has been cancelled.
It is "not correct. The IAF chief is going wherever he is invited and as per his wishes. He accepts invitations and goes... All other things are speculation. Whenever he is invited by any friendly country and he accepts, he is free to go," he had told reporters.
Sources said the visit has been deferred due to the lack of reciprocal high-level visits by the Chinese side to India.