India, China to Resume Defense Contacts

Posted June 17th, 2011 at 6:05 am (UTC-5)
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Indian officials say they are sending a military delegation to China Sunday, marking a resumption of defense ties suspended for a year over a visa spat.

The eight member Indian group will visit Beijing and the Xinjiang region that borders Kashmir on the six-day visit.

India cut off defense contacts with China last year to protest Beijing's insistence on stapling paper visas into the passports of visitors from Indian-controlled Kashmir. The region is also claimed by China's ally Pakistan. Many Indians view the policy as a tacit endorsement of Pakistani sovereignty over Kashmir.

China also rejects Indian sovereignty over its eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing describes on its official maps as “Southern Tibet.” The presence in India of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has added to the tension.

In April, China had hinted at a possible breakthrough in the long-standing visa dispute when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of a developing countries summit.