NEW DELHI - An Indian military delegation arrived Jan. 9 in Beijing for a four-day visit, although the group was reduced from the proposed 30 members to 15 after China refused a visa to a senior Indian Air Force official, Indian Defence Ministry sources said.
The visit is part of a defense exchange program. Military-to-military exchanges were restored between the two countries last year after a one-year suspension when Beijing refused to provide a visa to an Indian military officer.
The delegation includes officers from the three defense forces and will visit the General Staff headquarters of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and meet the PLA's deputy chief, Gen. Ma Xiaotian, an Indian Defence Ministry official said. The Indian delegation is headed by Air Vice-Marshal P.S. Mann.
Analysts here do not read much into the exchanges because the two countries are preparing militarily against each other.
"India cannot afford to be complacent with its military preparedness vis-a-vis China as the [Chinese] threat has increased more than ever," said Mahindra Singh, retired Indian Army major general and New Delhi-based defense analyst.
The two neighbors fought a brief battle over a territorial despite in 1962, and despite dozens of rounds of negotiations, the dispute remains unresolved.