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Visa row: MEA summons China envoy

Last Updated: Friday, August 27, 2010 - 18:32

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: With a major diplomatic row breaking out between India and China over denial of visa to a senior Indian Army General, the Chinese Ambassador to Delhi was on Friday summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs to seek clarifications.

As per reports, the Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan has been asked to explain the refusal of permission to Northern Army
Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal to visit that country because, as per the Chinese, he comes from "sensitive" Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar is also said to be present during Yan’s interaction with top MEA officials.

Earlier in the day, External Affairs Ministry
spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said the visit did not take place
"due to certain reasons" but did not elaborate.

He, however, made it clear that China needed to be
sensitive to India`s concerns.

"While we value our exchanges with China, there must be
sensitivity to each others concerns. Our dialogue with China
on these issues is ongoing," he said.

Gen Jaswal was to visit China in July as part of defence
exchanges but it could not take place in view of the Chinese
objection, sources said here today.

In retaliation, India has put on hold visits by three Chinese
defence officials here.

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 saying that he came from "sensitive location
of Jammu and Kashmir" and that "people from this part of the
world come with a different kind of visa", the sources said.

The Chinese side suggested that India may send some
other officer and not cancel the visit.

The sources said the Chinese objection came close to the
visit and so the matter could not be resolved and the trip
could not take place.

"I am told that the visit to China has been postponed
for a while. I am not aware of why it is being delayed," Gen
Jaswal said.

In Hyderabad, Defence Minister A K Antony ruled out
snapping defence ties with China in the wake of the row.

"It is not the question of breaking defence ties with
China. We have close ties with China, though they could be
some problems occasionally," he told reporters at a function.

Antony said short term problems would not affect overall
approach towards China.

Upset over Beijing`s action, New Delhi has kept in
abeyance permission to three Chinese defence officials to come
here for undertaking a course at the National Defence College.

"Two captains of the Chinese army were to visit Pachmarhi and a colonel was to visit the NDC (National Defence College). They have been denied visas," a sources said.

A pending visit by Indian military officials to China
has also been put off by India.

Political parties slammed the Chinese action, saying it
was an "insult" to India and asked the government to take up
the issue strongly.

First Published: Friday, August 27, 2010 - 18:32
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