China Says No Hurdle In Resuming Defence Ties With India

Chinese Embassy spokesperson Zou Yonghong told The Indian Express:
“There is no hurdle in defence cooperation. Dialogue between the two
military is going on.”

Defence cooperation was paused in August last year after China refused
to issue a proper ‘pasted’ visa to Lt Gen B S Jaswal, the GOC-in-C. He
was the Northern Army Commander in Jammu and Kashmir which China
considers “disputed”.

While the Chinese side is very keen to resume the defence exchanges
between the two countries, New Delhi is insisting that the issue of
stapled visas to J&K residents must be resolved first.

In this context, New Delhi has noticed that Beijing has not issued
a single “stapled visa” to J&K residents since Chinese Premier Wen
Jiaobao’s visit last December. Government sources confirmed this
development — that has taken place quietly — to The Indian Express,
there have been no formal or official communication from Beijing on the
issue. The real test, sources said, is whether the Chinese are issuing
proper ‘pasted’ visas to Indian nationals hailing from J&K.

South Block sources, who have been tracking this issue, said New Delhi
is not yet celebrating this development, but is “cautiously optimistic”.
However, the issue of stapled visas, sources added, remained with
respect to the residents of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Chinese Embassy spokesperson Zou Yonghong refused to comment on the issue of stapled visas.
South Block sources said that the issue of defence exchanges is
likely to be discussed during the Prime Minister’s visit to Sanya, a
city in China’s Hainan island, where he is expected to meet the Chinese
A bilateral meeting is expected on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit
on April 14, which will be embracing South Africa as a new member.
Sources said depending on the progress of discussions between the two
sides, a possible visit of the Defence Minister is also being discussed.

Though no dates are being discussed as yet, sources said there is a
possibility of A K Antony going to China after the elections in his home
state, Kerala.

During his India visit, the Chinese Premier had made an oblique pitch
for defence cooperation in the course of his speech at the Indian
Council of World Affairs as he said that China is ready to work with
India to intensify exchanges and multi-level consultations between
political parties and “in the military field” to enhance political and
strategic mutual trust.