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China denies rift in defence ties with India

By K J M Varma
August 28, 2010 20:26 IST
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As India put on hold bilateral defence exchanges, China said that the two countries would act in the spirit of "consultation and unity" to develop military ties, but remain mum on issue of denial of permission to a top Indian general to visit Beijing.

"China has not halted defence exchanges with India and has received no word that India has stopped military exchanges between the two countries," China's defence ministry said in a brief statement circulated to media. "China takes seriously developing military ties with India, and we are confident that both sides will stay focused on the broader picture of bilateral ties between our two countries, acting in a spirit of consultation and unity to promote the healthy development of military ties," it said.

India has put on hold its defence exchanges with China after Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General B S Jaswal was refused permission to visit Beijing as he commands

the "sensitive"Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi has said that Beijing's action amounts to questioning the status of Jammu and Kashmir which is unacceptable and the defence exchanges will remain suspended till the matter is resolved.

In retaliation, India has denied permission to three Chinese army officials to visit the country. The statement, which was the first response from China after the controversy broke out made no reference to strong protests from India, conveyed by the External Affairs Ministry to the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi Zhang Yan on Friday. There was no response to queries sent by the Beijing based Indian correspondents to the Chinese Foreign Ministry here nor there were any references to the on going controversy between the two countries.

Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan met Foreign Office officials yesterday during which India reportedly conveyed its strong feelings as well as decision to suspend defence exchanges.

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K J M Varma in Beijing
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