NEW DELHI: Sino-India relations have hit another bump in the road as the eastern neighbour has refused visa to an Indian Air Force officer from Arunachal Pradesh, who was to be part of a military delegation scheduled to leave for Beijing on Sunday.
Ties between the two countries had just recovered from a row that followed when an Indian diplomat S Balachandran was manhandled and refused food and medicines when he reached a court in the Chinese town of Yiwu to secure release of two detained Indian traders.
According to sources, the officer of Group Captain Rank, who was refused the visa, was part of the official delegation led by Air-Vice Marshal P S Mann. “The delegation was to leave for China as part of scheduled defence exchanges decided during the recently concluded Annual Defence Dialogue. The officer has applied for the visa again routing through MEA (Ministry of External Affairs),” sources said.
The officer is presently posted at Tezpur air base, which houses frontline fighter jets of the IAF – Sukhoi-30MKI. The jets have been stationed at the air base with the development of assets on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control.
Sources also indicated that authorities in New Delhi are trying to reach a compromi­se, wherein, the officer would be issued a passport on the basis of a different address.
Last year in January, two sportsmen from Arunachal Pradesh were granted stapled visas as is being given to people from Jammu and Kashmir—considered ‘disputed territory’ by China.
In 2007, China refused visa to a senior civil servant Ganesh Koyu, a native of Arunachal Pradesh and who was to be part of a delegation of 107 IAS officers going to China. The study visit to China was later cancelled at the intervention of the Prime Minister.