How People’s Liberation Army embarrassed the Indian army chief

New Army Chief General Bikram Singh after inspecting a guard of honour in New Delhi, 2012.

New Army Chief General Bikram Singh after inspecting a guard of honour in New Delhi, 2012. File photo/PTI/Kamal Singh


NEW DELHI, India, 29 July 2014

Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh faced embarrassing questions from some officers of the People’s Liberation Army during his recent visit to Beijing.

What exactly happened?

After Gen Singh finished his lecture at China’s prestigious National Defence University, a woman Colonel from the audience asked him to explain Indian Army’s stand on Arunachal Pradesh. The next question was on Tibet and the activities of Tibetan refugees in India.

How did Gen Singh react to the situation?

Though General Bikram Singh deftly handled both questions, he was taken aback by the unexpected and embarrassing queries, sources privy to the incident said. On the northeastern state claimed by China, the army chief said that “Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India”. While on the activities of Tibetans living in India, he simply reiterated Indian government’s stand that “India does not allow any foreign political activities from its soil,” the sources said.

Who had invited Gen Singh to China?

The Indian Army chief visited the neighbouring country from 2 to 5 July on the invitation of China’s Military Commission, the body that controls People’s Liberation Army. He was the first Indian Army chief to have gone to China in seven years after Gen JJ Singh’s visit in 2007.

What is China’s stand on Arunchal Pradesh?

China claims Arunachal Pradesh to be its territory and has been embarrassing India from time to time on the issue. Whenever the residents of Arunachal Pradesh apply for Chinese visa, Beijing issues them stapled visas in order to reiterate its claim on the Indian state. It also registers its protest whenever Tibetan leader Dalai Lama visits Tawang in Arunchal Pradesh.

What is the status of talks on the border dispute?

India and China have so far held 17 rounds of talks by special representatives to resolve the boundary dispute.

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