Indian officers consider Tibet visit

Indian army officials plan to tour Chinese bases in Tibet next week - the first such visit since the two countries fought a border war in 1962.

    Vajpayee helped improve Chinese relations with a visit in June

    The delegation will be headed by Lieutenant General Mohinder Singh, who commands troops posted on the disputed border between Tibet and the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, the Hindustan Times reported. 
       
    Delhi and Beijing have never formally established a border between the two regions.

    There has been no immediate official confirmation of the report, but the newspaper adds that the visit aims to increase confidence and transparency between the world’s most populous nations. 

    Recognising borders

    India recognises China's control over Tibet, despite hosting the Himalayan territory's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, since 1959 when he fled following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Lhasa.

    Relations between the Delhi and Beijing have been improving steadily through 2003.

    In June, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee paid the first visit by a senior Indian official to the Chinese capital in a decade.
      
    The two countries have also held their first joint military exercises, with a day of naval manoeuvres off the coast of Shanghai. 
      
    Sikkim tacit agreement

    During Vajpayee's visit, the two countries also agreed to reopen the Nathu La Pass between Tibet and Sikkim - a former protectorate India annexed in 1975.
      
    India interprets the agreement on the Nathu La Pass as a first, if tacit, recognition by China of Sikkim as an Indian state.
      
    In October, Chinese vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and Indian National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra held talks in New Delhi on the border dispute.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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