No change in visa policy: China
‘Kashmir An Issue Left Over From History’
K J M VARMA
Beijing, Sept 2: China Thursday made it clear that it was not reviewing its stance on stapled visas to Kashmiris saying the country’s visa policy on Jammu and Kashmir is consistent and stays unchanged.
“About our visa policy toward inhabitants in the Indian controlled Kashmir (sic) region the policy is consistent and stays unchanged”. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said at a media briefing when asked whether China would review the policy to issue stapled visas to people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Clarifying on the Kashmir issue, the spokesperson said, “About Kashmir issue our position is that we believe it is an issue left over from history between India and Pakistan”.
“As a neighbour and friend of both countries, China believes that the (Kashmir) issue should be left to the two countries so that it could be properly handled through dialogue and consultation,” Yu said.
Her reference to “inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir” left doubts whether the same policy was applied to areas of Kashmir under control of Pakistan, where China is reportedly undertaking several developmental projects.
She declined to take further questions on the subject when clarifications were sought about her reference to Gilgit as “northern Pakistan” without mentioning their disputed status.
“May be you want me to repeat. I have made our position very clear,” she said.
The spokesperson, however said that her country had no intention to interfere in the Kashmir issue as it dismissed reports of presence of up to 11,000 PLA troops in Gilgit in Pakistan administered Kashmir.
Her comments came in response to a New York Times opinion piece last week which said that 11,000 PLA men had been deployed in Gilgit-Baltistan area to build up its rail and road access to the warm waters of the Persian Gulf.
The report said that the troops had been deployed to safeguard the project as well as use them for working on the railway link across the Karakorams.
“Some people are fabricating reports to destroy relations between China, Pakistan and India. But their efforts will get nowhere,” Jiang said.
The spokesperson as well as the Chinese Ministry of National Defence said Beijing had not suspended bilateral military exchanges with India nor received any report from New Delhi about any suspension.
On the issue of denial of visa to Lt Gen B S Jaswal,who heads the Indian Army’s Northern Command, Jiang Yu declined to give a direct answer.
Media reports in India had said that India had suspended all military exchanges with China in protest against the denial of the visa to Gen Jaswal.
On these reports, the spokesperson said: “After reading reports (about denial of visa to Gen Jaswal) we have checked with competent authority. The relevant media report is not true”.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 2 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 2 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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