India, China Set to Resume Military Ties

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    India, China Set to Resume Military Ties -

    MUMBAI—India and China will resume military ties a year after a cold freeze in relations between the two Asian giants, with a defense delegation set to travel to Beijing on Sunday, according to an official in the Indian government.

    New Delhi had suspended military ties with Beijing last year after China refused a regular visa to Lt. General B.S. Jaiswal, the Indian Army's former chief of the northern command, and instead offered him a visa stapled on a separate piece of paper. For the past couple of years, Beijing has been giving these so-called stapled visas to residents of the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, a gesture that indicates China's questioning of India's territorial rights in those regions by not treating their residents as it treats other Indians.

    Neither of these disputes has been resolved. In fact, the coming delegation no longer includes the chief of the northern command, said others familiar with the situation. They said that it will be led by an officer who is one rank lower and also includes members of commands other than the northern command.

    Analysts say the thaw comes at a time when China is taking a stronger role in the region on geopolitical matters, which some say is leading India to adjust its stance.

    "India has done a climbdown on both issues," said Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. "There's a leadership deficit in India that reflects this supine policy. India is unwilling to take a stand or to stick with it if it takes one."

    In this past year of military freeze, China has added thousands of troops in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, increasing its presence on the subcontinent and adding weight to Pakistan's claims in the region, Mr. Chellaney said.

    But some analysts view the coming Indian visit to China as a positive step, saying it is necessary for these competing, large, nuclear-armed neighbors to thaw the freeze in their relationship.

    "It's an important development to be cautiously welcomed, but it won't offer any major solutions," says Uday Bhaskar, director of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi. "China has not made this into a litmus test into the way China views India," he said.

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