Bloomberg News

India Said to Resume Military Ties With China After Visa Spat

June 17, 2011

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- India will resume military ties with China after a freeze of almost a year with a delegation of army officials due to travel to Beijing.

Major General Gurmeet Singh will lead an eight-member team for meetings with Chinese counterparts, according to an Indian government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly with the media on the matter. The five-day trip will begin June 19, the official said.

Defense relations between the world’s two largest countries were suspended in August after China issued a visa to an Indian army officer in charge of forces in Kashmir without stamping his passport, an act seen as questioning India’s rule over the disputed Himalayan territory. China has a close alliance with Pakistan, which has waged two wars with India over Kashmir.

“It’s a positive development but its importance shouldn’t be overstated,” said Uday Bhaskar, director of the New Delhi- based National Maritime Foundation, a research group. “The military contact between the two countries before this event was limited and the armies are going to continue to be wary of each other.”

Singh is based in Kashmir, where he heads an anti- insurgency force, according to the Indian Express today.

Answers to faxed questions to China’s defense and foreign ministries on the general’s trip were not immediately returned.

The hiatus in military relations did not spill over to other government departments and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao traveled to India with 400 business executives in December.

India and China, which fought a war in 1962 over part of their disputed 3,500-kilometer (2,175-mile) border, have been working to ensure their ongoing disagreements don’t damage economic ties.

--With assistance from Mike Forsythe in Beijing. Editors: Mark Williams, John Brinsley

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Macaskill in New Delhi at amacaskill@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net


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