New Delhi: In yet another provocation, China has denied visa to a senior IAF officer hailing from Arunachal Pradesh, who was to travel as part of a military delegation, after which India put the visit on hold.
Group Captain M Panging, based in Northeast, was refused visa by the Chinese embassy without being given any reasons, sources said.
Reacting strongly, India put on hold the visit that was to start from January 10.
The officer was to be part of the Integrated Defence Staff team travelling to China on a four-day visit under a bilateral defence exchange programme.
The 30-member tri-Service Indian delegation, being led by an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer, had to visit Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai there.
China, which lays claim over Arunachal Pradesh, has often denied visa to those hailing from the state despite protests by India.
The visit by Indian military delegation was reciprocal to the one undertaken by the Chinese last month and is part of the confidence building measures between the two sides.
Earlier in 2010, China had denied visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal as he was serving in Jammu and Kashmir, leading to souring of bilateral relations India suspended all defence exchanges.
Jaswal was to head a military delegation to China under the defence exchange programme.
The ice was broken when India sent a delegation under a Major General in June last year. After that visit, two more visits took place between the two sides.
The two countries had decided to enhance defence exchanges as part of CBMs during their Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) held earlier this month.