Friday, September 3, 2010

Chinese Action Denying him a Visa Reflected Their "Predilection". : Lt Gen BS Jaswal

Army's Northern Command Chief Lt Gen BS Jaswal today remained unruffled by the Chinese action denying him a visa that fuelled a diplomatic row with India but said it reflected their "predilection".

"My name came up as part of the annual dialogue which takes place as part of the Confidence Building Measures. I share a border with China as part of my responsibility. So best dialogue can take place of the people who are on the ground. "...But it is basically building a mutual confidence on either side. They have denied it as per their own predilection and I will just leave at that," Jaswal said.


Jaswal, who is General Officer Commanding-in-chief (GOC) of the Army's Udhampur-based Northern Command, was denied permission in July to go to China by authorities in that country on the ground he comes from "sensitive" Jammu and Kashmir. The controversial Chinese step that brought chill in Sino-Indian relations came despite the visit by a General-rank officer to China being agreed upon between the two countries in January during the Annual Defence Dialogue as part of defence exchanges andCBM.

"An annual foreign travel plan is made at Army headquarters and whenever the names of an officer comes up, the Military Intelligence Directorate, do the visa formalities. It's an official visit. So they process my visa formalities and I am not really aware of what happened there," the official said. "...I was told that your visit has been put on hold and thereafter I came to know that the visa has not been granted," he said.

When asked about the reason behind it, Jaswal said "Neither did I enquire into it nor really it is my mandate." "The details have come out from Army headquarters. It is for them to decide. The process is, if there is anything which needs to be conveyed to, it is conveyed to ministry of defence and they convey it to the ministry of external affairs. It is for them to decide," the GOC said.

To a question whether it would impact Indo-Sino ties, Jaswal said "I cannot do crystal gazing of that. It is an international affair. The MEA would be controlling that well. I have a military mandate and we will continue with that." When asked about the importance of dialogue between the two countries, he said "very much". Sources said while denying the visa, the Chinese side had suggested that India may send some other officer and not cancel the visit.PTI

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