The government has called off a proposed visit by a batch of Indian bureaucrats to China after the Chinese government denied a visa to an official belonging to Arunachal Pradesh.
The trip was meant to be the first-ever training programme for career bureaucrats in the middle of their tenures, and was part of an initiative by the Prime Minister to send officials back to the classroom, to keep abreast of changing policy requirements, a senior official said.
The Chinese Embassy in India denied a visa to the official from Arunachal Pradesh, C Ropianga, because they claim it as part of their own territory. Granting visa to someone from the northeast would be an acceptance of Indian sovereignty, which is contrary to its official position.
Confirming that the visa had been turned down, a Chinese Embassy spokesperson said on Friday, "Arunachal is the place where the two countries have a dispute about territory."
The dispute was highlighted before the visit of China's President Hu Jintao to India in November 2006, when the Chinese Ambassador in India claimed all of Arunachal Pradesh as Chinese territory. "In our position, the whole of the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory. And Tawang is only one of the places in it. We are claiming all of that," Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Yuxi said, triggering a controversy.
India rejected the claim, with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee stating, "Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India."
The Department of Personnel and Training set up a committee under the chairmanship of RV Vaidyanatha Ayyar, which recommended such a training module for IAS mid-career officials.
The 1991 batch of the Indian Administrative Service was chosen to launch the "foreign exposure initiative" and travel to neighbouring China and ASEAN countries to familiarise themselves with different methods of administrative practices.
Visas were issued to all but one of the 107 officials scheduled to visit China from Saturday for the "foreign exposure" and familiarisation tour.
The officers were scheduled for attachment to the National Academy of Administration of China in Beijing for a week, followed by a week's tenure in Shanghai. They had completed a local five-week training module and were to follow it up with a two-week visit to China.
With inputs by Aloke Tikku