India complains to Beijing over treatment of diplomat

NEW DELHI Mon Jan 2, 2012 6:42pm IST

Chinese paramilitary policemen walk past an Indian flag in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing January 13, 2008. India's foreign ministry complained to Beijing at a high level on Monday, saying a diplomat was denied medicine to control severe diabetes and collapsed while offering consular assistance to two Indian citizens on trial in China's Yiwu city. REUTERS/Grace Liang/Files

Chinese paramilitary policemen walk past an Indian flag in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing January 13, 2008. India's foreign ministry complained to Beijing at a high level on Monday, saying a diplomat was denied medicine to control severe diabetes and collapsed while offering consular assistance to two Indian citizens on trial in China's Yiwu city.

Credit: Reuters/Grace Liang/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - China has agreed to look into a complaint by India's foreign ministry that a diplomat was prevented from treating his severe diabetes and collapsed while offering consular assistance to two Indian citizens on trial in China's Yiwu city.

S. Balachandran from the Indian consulate in Shanghai, had to be hospitalised after attending a court hearing that lasted five hours without being able to treat his condition, said an Indian government source who declined to be named.

"We have taken it up pretty strongly with the Chinese, that this is no way to treat a diplomat, that he should be allowed access to medication," the source said. But the source denied Indian media reports that the diplomat had been attacked by an angry crowd for defending the two businessmen on trial.

A Chinese diplomat in New Delhi said the incident would be investigated.

"I believe both governments ... will handle this properly, this seems to be a civil-civic commercial dispute," China's charge d'affaires Zhang Yue said after meeting with officials at India's foreign ministry.

"We are trying to figure out what happened," he said.

Yiwu is a small city known for manufacturing and a commodities wholesale market that attracts traders from across Asia.

Although annual bilateral trade between India and China is more than $50 billion, the neighbours have a tense diplomatic relationship linked to a brief but bloody border war in 1962 over national boundaries which remain unsettled.

(Additional reporting by Sunil Kataria; Editing by Ed Lane)

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