Indian Military Delegation Visits China

Indian soldiers (L) and Chinese soldiers (R) salute during celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, at the Indo-China border,

An Indian military delegation has arrived in China for a visit aimed at re-establishing defense ties between the two Asian giants after a year-long freeze.

The eight-member delegation led by Major General Gurmeet Singh arrived in Beijing Sunday. The week-long visit will include meetings with Chinese counterparts in Beijing, Shanghai and the restive Xinjiang region that borders Kashmir. 

India suspended defense contacts with China last year to protest Beijing's practice of 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 of using removable visas as a tacit endorsement of Pakistani sovereignty over Kashmir.

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

India's news agency, PTI, says China started issuing regular visas to Jammu and Kashmir residents this year.  It is not clear if this is an official change of policy.

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


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