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China `prudent` about Indo-Pak issues

China is keen to avoid any "diplomatic issues" between China, India and Pakistan, a senior Chinese official said.



Beijing: China is keen to avoid any "diplomatic issues" between China, India and Pakistan and the issue of stapled visa to people from Jammu and Kashmir, including to a top Indian Army official in 2010, was part of this stand, a senior Chinese official said here.

He said the policy was to issue separate papers to people from Kashmir till the "dispute of sovereignty" was resolved between India and Pakistan.

Colonel Guo Hongtao, the Staff Officer of the Asian Affairs Bureau, Foreign Affairs Office, Ministry of National Defence, said China "exercises prudence" with regard to "sensitive issues" between India and Pakistan.

Speaking during an interaction with a group of Indian journalists, Guo said: "China has been consistent that it would issue separate papers to people from Kashmir till India and Pakistan have resolved the issue."

India had suspended defence exchanges in July 2010 when the head of the Northern Command, Lt Gen BS Jaswal, was refused a visa because the "sensitive region" of Kashmir was under his charge. General Jaswal was to head an Indian military team to China.

Defence ties between New Delhi and Beijng resumed a year later. China also began issuing regular visas to both Indian military officers and residents from Jammu and Kashmir.

Explaining Beijing`s position on why it had refused visa to Gen Jaswal, Col Guo said China`s objective was "to handle the issue properly to avoid diplomacy issues between China, India and Pakistan”.

China had then proposed an alternative arrangement - to allow Gen Jaswal to be a member of the Indian delegation instead of heading it. India didn`t agree and suspended military ties with Beijing.

Col Guo said if the Indian side had been led by the head of the Northern Command, "it would have put China in a diplomatic difficulty" vis-à-vis Pakistan.

He said in relation to Kashmir, China considers it a "dispute of sovereignty between India and Pakistan".

He said since last year China and India have resumed bilateral military interactions, and "this page (the incident) should be turned over" and treated as a "closed issue".

Jia Xiudong, the Senior Fellow in Residence of the think tank China Institute of International Studies (Department of International Strategic Studies), said China`s relations with Pakistan were "not against India" and his country wants to see improvement in relations between India and Pakistan.

IANS

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