No change in visa policy on JK: China
K J M VARMA/PTI
Beijing, Oct 26: Rejecting New Delhi's assertions that Beijing should respect India's sensitivities on Kashmir, China Tuesday said that its policy of issuing stapled visas to Kashmiris would remain unchanged, in crucial comments ahead of a meeting between Prime Ministers of the two countries.
Weeks after External Affairs Minister S M Krishna hoped that Beijing would maintain "neutrality" on the affairs related to Jammu and Kashmir and respect India's sensitivities on the issue, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said; "Though China had friendly relations with India, its policy towards the stapled visas for residents of the state remained unchanged."
The comments come ahead of this week's meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of East Asia Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The issue of stapled visa is likely to figure prominently at the talks.
Ma Zhaoxu, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said at his bi-weekly briefing, "As for the Indian Kashmir visa our policy is consistent and has stayed unchanged." He was replying to questions whether the issue would come up for discussions at the meeting between Singh and Wen.
He said officials of both the countries were in "touch" with each other to arrange the meeting. Indian officials expect the meeting to take place on October 30.
China has been issuing stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir since 2008.
The policy had its biggest fall out when China recently declined to grant visa to Lt Gen B S Jaswal, the Chief of Indian Army's northern command for official talks here on the ground that he headed troops of a disputed area.
The move prompted India to put on hold all defence exchanges with China, even though Beijing played down the move saying that defence ties are intact.
The stapled visa issue has emerged as an irritant in Sino-Indian ties at a time when bilateral trade is set to cross USD 60 billion target set for this year.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 26 Oct 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 26 Oct 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 27 Oct 2010 00:00:00 IST
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