- Moving beyond its earlier emphasis on Jammu & Kashmir being a “disputed” area, China has agreed to host India’s Northern Army Commander this year, a visit that went on hold five years ago after Beijing insisted on issuing stapled visa to the officer because J&K came under his command.
- This understanding was reached at the recently concluded defence dialogue between both the countries, which took place just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China next month.
- At this meeting, the Indian side made a strong push on Beijing to demonstrate that the J&K stapled visa issue was now a matter of the past.
- It was eventually agreed that both sides will exchange visits between commanders responsible for the Western Sector (India’s Northern Command) of the Line of Actual Control this year.
- The head of the Lanzhou military region will undertake the reciprocal visit from the Chinese side.
- “When they have agreed to the visit, they obviously know what kind of visa to be issued,” a senior official told ET on the question of whether China could still spring a surprise.
- This exchange is a crucial element of the web of military confidence building measures both countries have gradually put in place to keep the LAC tranquil and for that reason, the Chinese decision in 2010 caught New Delhi off guard.