Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Expressing surprise over China objecting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Vice-Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal P.K. Barbora said it was timed to coincide with elections in the State.

“Early this year, President Pratibha Patil, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, visited Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, and China had no objections. Why should they protest when the Prime Minister visits now?” Air Marshal Barbora said here at a news conference.

He said Beijing’s reaction should be read “between the lines” and interpreted it as one coming at a time when the State was electing its new Assembly.

No fear

Asked whether the size of the Chinese military was a factor that should be feared, and the reason for India developing infrastructure, the IAF Vice-Chief said: “The IAF does not fear.”