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IAF officer refused visa, defence teamís visit to China off
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, January 6
In yet another flare-up between India and China, New Delhi has called off a scheduled visit by its military delegation to Beijing. This comes after China refused visa to a senior Indian Air Force official as he hailed from Arunachal Pradesh.

The officer, Group Captain M Panging, was to accompany an Indian military delegation on four-day official visit to China starting from January 10.

After the visa was denied, there was little option for New Delhi but to cancel the visit, sources said. The development comes just a month after a Chinese military delegation had visited India to resume the annual defence dialogue (ADD). The two countries had decided to enhance defence exchanges as part of CBMs during the ADD. The two sides even promised to look at resuming joint exercises.

China is in a dispute with India over the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The visa was refused by the Chinese Embassy here without giving any reasons, sources said in New Delhi. China, which lays claim over Arunachal Pradesh, has often denied visa to those hailing from the state despite protests by India. The two nations have even fought a war in 1962 and special representatives of the two countries are in talks to resolve the un-defined boundary line - a legacy of the British times.

The IAF officer is stationed at a forward base at Tezpur in Assam. The four-day visit of the Indian team was under a bilateral defence exchange programme. The 30-member tri-Service Indian delegation, was led by an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer.

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