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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

India cancels China defence exchanges after visa row

August 29, 2010

British Bradcasting Corporation (BBC)
August 27, 2010

Indian and Chinese soldiers at Nathu La China
reopened the Nathu La pass to border trade; an
agreement on defence ties was signed in 2006

India has cancelled defence exchanges with China
after China refused a visa to a Kashmir-based general.

The Indian government said that China had to be
sensitive to India's concerns, one of which is the disputed area of Kashmir.

As well as India and Pakistan, China also claims part of Kashmir.

Defence ties between China and India have
remained tentative due to long-standing disputes
and a lack of trust; the two fought a short war in 1962.

Indian Lt Gen BS Jaswal is responsible for Indian
army operations in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He had hoped to travel to Beijing in August as
part of a high-level exchange, but was denied a visa.

Old tensions

"While we value our exchanges with China, there
must be sensitivity to each others' concerns. Our
dialogue with China on these issues is ongoing,"
India's foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

The Times of India said the row had blocked the
visit of Indian generals to China and another
planned visit of Chinese generals to India.

The Indian foreign ministry noted that defence
exchanges with China in recent years had proven "useful".

China and India fought a short border war in
1962. China is strongly critical of India for
granting residence to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

It is also close to India's traditional foe,
Pakistan, with whom it is cooperating on military
and missile development, cross-border infrastructure, and a deep-water port.

Last year, India protested against the Chinese
practice of issuing visas to Kashmiris on
separate pieces of paper, unlike the standard
visas it offered to other Indians.

The disputed status of Kashmir has been behind
two of the three wars between India and Pakistan;
the two countries each administer part of Kashmir
but claim the territory in full.

China maintains that part of Kashmir should be in Tibet, which it claims.

A separatist insurgency in Kashmir has killed
tens of thousands of people since it began in 1989.
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