China attends Indian air show for first time

February 9th, 2011 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 9 (IANS) China Wednesday joined the nearly two-decade old Aero India air show for first time, with its Ambassador Zhang Yan leading a delegation after a last-minute invitation from New Delhi.China was not invited to the show initially, but after media reports in this regard, the defence ministry last week changed its stance and sent the invitation to China, asking it to send a delegation and a journalist based in New Delhi to the five-day event.

Zhang Yan visited the air show and went around the stalls. He also met Defence Minister A.K. Antony and conveyed his appreciation for the “impressive” show.

The defence ministry did not send the invite to China in consultation with the external affairs ministry when the air show was in the planning stages.

The decision was, however, reversed last week after a Chinese journalist raised the issue at a press conference addressed by Defence Production Secretary Raj Kumar Singh.

A Chinese journalist Wednesday raised the issue of difficulties in getting the accreditation to cover the show, following which Antony instructed a defence ministry official to facilitate her work.

She also asked Antony on the future of Sino-Indian ties, to which he replied that despite some difficulties on the border dispute front, the relation between the two neighbours was by and large friendly.

He also noted that China has been India’s largest trading partner in recent years.

Pakistan and Iran have, however, not been invited to Aero India and there has been no rethink on the decision.

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