New Delhi, (IANS) The visit of an Indian military delegation to China is on, though scaled down, even as a visa was denied to an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer from Arunachal Pradesh, government sources said Saturday.
The number of delegates has been scaled down to 15 from the original 30, the sources said.
The decision to keep the scheduled visit that begins Jan 10 comes a day after defence sources said it had been called off because the Chinese embassy here refused a visa to one of the participants, Group Captain Mohonto Panging, without specifying any reasons.
The team of the IAF, army and navy was to travel to China on a four-day visit for a bilateral defence exchange programme.
They are to visit Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.
The China visit is part of confidence building measures between the two sides and comes after a similar one by the Chinese military commanders last month.
China has sparked a visa row with India in the past. Beijing claims Arunachal Pradesh as its territory and has been denying travel permits to those hailing from the northeastern state despite protests.
Beijing has also been denying visas to Jammu and Kashmir residents.
Earlier in 2010, China denied a visa to Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal, then head of the Northern Command, because he was serving in Jammu and Kashmir.
The visit of the military team Jaswal was leading was cancelled and India also temporarily called off its defence exchanges with China.
However, the defence exchanges resumed after India sent a delegation in June last year.
The latest visa row came close on the heels of a controversy over threats to two Indian traders involved in a financial dispute in the Chinese city of Yiwu.
The two Indian traders, who were holed up in a hotel in Yiwu, were released Wednesday after the Indian consulate intervened.