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First Sino-Indian military exercise put off
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | October 10, 2007 20:02 IST
Last Updated: October 10, 2007 21:12 IST
China and India have indefinitely postponed first joint military exercise, the news agencies have reported. The exercise was to be held in China next month.
According to The New York Times, a Chinese military spokesman said the countries were unable to agree on a location for the drills.
Alka Acharaya, a Chinese scholar, teaching at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said the exercise was to be held at Chengdu in China, but lack of preparatory work and other reasons deferred the exercise. The decision comes on the eve of Sonia Gandhi's [Images] expected visit to China.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, early next year Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] will also visit China for bilateral talks. Foreign secretary S S Menon visited China last month to brief China on the Indo-US nuclear deal and other issues.
Reportedly, China gave a patient hearing and did not contradict India's stand. Till date, Chinese scholars and politicians have said that China supports peaceful use of nuclear energy by India. China has repeatedly said that it is worried only about nuclear proliferation part of it.
China has, recently, issued a surprising release, congratulating Rahul Gandhi [Images] on his appointment as Congress general secretary.
However, the media has of late reported a few instances of tension on the Sino-Indian borders.
But, a senior officer of MEA, strongly denied that China had encroached any Indian territory. According to MEA, there is no change in "infrastructure" on either sides of the border in last three years. The Indian Army has confirmed such claims.
When asked about tension on the Sikkim border, an officer said, the Chinese soldiers had asked the Indian side to vacate two bunkers about six-seven weeks ago. But, the Indian soldiers refused. Then, the soldiers said that they would take up the issue through a diplomatic channel. The matter ended at that point and no such matter had been raked up again.
The MEA says that could be one of the cases where 'local soldiers' have exceeded their brief. According to Indian observers, recently, Chinese soldiers might have intruded into Bhutan. Acharya said the decision to postpone military exercise is reflective of the uncertainties in the Sino-Indian relations.