China wants full military exchanges with India

By Minu Jain, IANS,

Tokyo: China is keen to resume full military exchanges with India, informed sources said Sunday, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here on the first leg of an Asia visit that will also take him to Malaysia and Vietnam.

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“We have not cut all military links… Certain high-level exchanges are paused while we work our way through the problem,” a source said about bilateral relations that have been strained since China refused visa to Indian Army’s Lt. Gen. S.S. Jaiswal.

China maintains it never refused a visa, only gave it on a separate sheet of paper – a stance not acceptable to India.

“Both sides have said they want to resume full exchanges,” the source said, declining to speculate on the outcome of the scheduled meeting between Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Hanoi on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit this week.

The Indian prime minister will be in Hanoi from Oct 28-30 after proceeding to Malaysia from here.

The meeting with Wen is likely to be the highlight of the prime minister’s week-long trip to Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam during which he will interact with several world leaders, mainly in Vietnam on the sidelines of the India-Asean Summit and the East Asia Summit.

From bilateral ties to issues of mutual concern such as border tensions, the India-China dynamic will be up for discussion.

The contentious border issue that has dogged relations between the two countries will come up for talks between Manmohan Singh and Wen.

A meeting of special representatives to discuss the issue is also being planned. China has since 1950 been claiming that Arunachal Pradesh was a part of Chinese territory.

India sees Chinese activities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir – widening the Karakoram highway and construction in Gilgit Baltistan – as another bone of contention.

The issue has been taken up “very strongly” with China, the source said.

“Though China says there is no change in the situation, we don’t see this in practice,” the source said.

While China has been saying that yuan should be revalued, India maintains that the issue needed to be looked from a global perspective.

Since 2005, the rupee has appreciated by 22 percent but the economic imbalances increased.

“There are structural changes that are required, not revaluation of currencies,” said the source, pointing out that currency was one factor in the imbalance that exists.

(Minu Jain can be contacted at [email protected])