NEW DELHI: Terming China’s denial of visa to a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officer from Arunachal Pradesh an insult to Indian soldiers, the BJP on Sunday came down heavily upon the UPA Government for going ahead with the scheduled visit of the military delegation to Beijing. BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay said this amounted to accepting China’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh and demanded immediate cancellation of the visit. “It is shocking to know that the government is sending a military delegation to China after dropping an officer who hails from Arunachal Pradesh.
This is conceding the Chinese claim on Arunachal through backdoor and demoralising the Indian Armed Forces, whose delegation is forced to leave for China without their brother soldier Group Captain M Panging,” said Vijay.
Group Captain M Panging, a resident of Arunachal Pradesh and the Chief Operating Officer of the Tezpur (Assam)-based squadron Sukhoi Su-30MKi fighter jets, was part of the 30-member delegation of the officers from the three services. The delegation was part of the military exchange programme agreed upon in the annual defence dialogue between the two countries last December.On Saturday, in a complete U-turn, the Indian Government decided to send the military delegation to China as scheduled, even as the number of members was brought down from 30 to 15. The delegation will leave for China on January 10.
China, which stakes claim on Arunachal as its own territory, has refused to issue proper visa to the resident of the state, as Beijing considers it to be ‘disputed territory’. “Why should we send the delegation to China when that country does not allow visa to an officer from Arunachal Pradesh. Tomorrow, if our Prime Minister is from Arunachal Pradesh and China refuses to give a visa to him, will we send a delegation to that country minus the Prime Minister? A soldier’s honour is not less than that of the PM,” he said.
Vijay will meet A K Antony on Monday. He said the officers on special duty of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said to him the officer was dropped because China issues stapled visas to residents of Arunachal.