New Delhi: India on Wednesday made it clear that
defence exchanges with China will remain suspended till
Beijing satisfactorily resolved issues such as denial of visa
to a senior Indian General from Jammu and Kashmir.
Squarely blaming Beijing for creating a situation when
India had to take a relook at its bilateral military exchanges
with it, top Defence Ministry sources said China cannot say an
Indian commander from a particular region of the country could
not visit their country.
India had officially suspended defence exchanges with
China following the denial of visa to Northern Army Commander
Lt Gen B S Jaswal, who commands troops in Jammu and Kashmir,
for a visit to Beijing, thereby implying that the state did
not form part of Indian territory.
"The Ministry of External Affairs has said that since one
of our Army commanders had not gone there (China), we will put
it (defence exchanges) on hold," the sources said.
But other local level military meetings such as the
border personnel conferences "for maintaining peace and
tranquility" along the Sino-Indian borders would continue.
"The reasoning is that since Lt Gen Jaswal has not gone,
as far as defence exchanges are concerned, they are
interrupted now," they said.
Asked what they expected China to do to improve the
situation, the sources said: "We want reciprocity. We need a
satisfactory resolution. We have not created this situation."
They added, "China has refused the visa (to an Indian
General). You cannot say that a particular commander from a
particular region of India cannot visit. We are striving for a
Only last week, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had
made it categorical that bilateral defence exchanges would
remain suspended and asked China to respect its sensitivities
on issues like Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh so that
the relationship could be developed further.
Against the backdrop of certain recent Chinese actions
that amount to questioning Jammu and Kashmir`s integration
with India such as denial of visa to Lt Gen Jaswal and stapled
visas to civilians from the state, Krishna also urged Beijing
to maintain "neutrality" on the affairs related to
the state as it has always done.
The defence exchanges with China were put on hold in July
following the Lt Gen Jaswal episode.