New Delhi: In an overnight change of stance,
India on Saturday decided to go ahead with sending the military
delegation to China as scheduled next week but scaled it down
from 30 to 15 after visa was denied to a senior IAF officer
hailing from Arunachal Pradesh.
Sources said the Staff Officers` delegation will travel
to China from January 10 as scheduled as part of defence
However, instead of 30 members as decided earlier, the
delegation will comprise 15 members drawn from all the three
Services, they said.
The decision marks a change of stance as the government
had yesterday put on hold the visit in response to the
provocative action by China of denying visa to IAF Group
Captain M Panging, who hails from Arunachal and was to be part
of the delegation.
The delegation is to visit Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai
during the four-day trip.
China, which lays claim over Arunachal Pradesh, has often
denied visa to those hailing from the state despite protests
The visit by Indian military delegation is reciprocal to
the one undertaken by the Chinese last month and is part of
the confidence building measures between the two sides.
Earlier in 2010, China had denied visa to the then
Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal as he was serving in
Jammu and Kashmir, leading to souring of bilateral relations.
Jaswal was to head a military delegation to China under
the defence exchange programme.
The ice was broken when India sent a delegation under a
Major General in June last year. After that visit, two more
visits took place between the two sides.