NATIONAL SECURITY: PM huddle on China – increasing Chinese assertiveness, time for India to wake up ?!!

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New Delhi, Aug. 31: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today held a meeting with senior cabinet colleagues to discuss New Delhi’s options in the face of increasing Chinese assertiveness.

The meeting, also attended by India’s envoy to Beijing, S. Jaishankar, comes days after India signalled a slow-down in friendly military exchanges after China rejected an Indian general’s visa application.

The application of Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen. B.S. Jaswal, whose area of responsibility includes Jammu and Kashmir — and the frontiers with both Pakistan and China — was turned down ostensibly because Beijing wants to maintain an ambivalent stand on Kashmir.

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Government sources said Jaishankar briefed Singh and cabinet ministers A.K. Antony, P. Chidambaram, Pranab Mukherjee and S.M. Krishna on his understanding of the Chinese aggression and the possible responses. Earlier in the day, defence minister Antony had met the three defence chiefs to discuss the border situation.

The increased tensions have come at a time the Asian giants are celebrating 60 years of bilateral ties.

New Delhi is now considering plans to start issuing stapled visas to Chinese from Tibet. China has been issuing stapled visas to Jammu and Kashmir residents for two years despite Indian protests. “China needs to understand J&K is as important to India as Tibet to China,” said a senior official. Beijing has also refused visas to Indians from Arunachal.

India has also expressed “serious concern” at the presence of up to 11,000 Chinese troops in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.


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