China changing policy on stapled visa?

This is seen as a good solvent for bilateral ties, ahead of Wen`s visit to India from Wednesday.

New Delhi: Ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao`s visit here this week, China appears to be finally changing its policy over issuance of stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir after strong protests by India.

In recent few weeks, Chinese Embassy here has issued stamped visas to at least three people from the state, including Tanya Gupta, a singer who traveled to Guangzhou to perform at the closing ceremony of Asian Games last month.

Indian officials have recently said that Beijing has given an assurance that the issue of giving stapled visas to those from Jammu and Kashmir will be resolved and that it will not affect bilateral diplomatic exchanges.

The move, seen as a good solvent by New Delhi for bilateral ties, especially ahead of Wen`s visit to India from Wednesday, will also help in easing of some irritants which occurred in the past one year between the two countries.

However, when asked about issuance of stamped visas
and if there was a change in China`s policy, the officials in
the Chinese embassy here said they were not aware of issuance
of any such visas.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had raised the stapled
visa issue during his meeting with Wen on the margins of ASEAN
in Vietnam in October and stressed the need for both countries
to show sensitivity to each other`s core issues.

The Chinese have been issuing visa on a separate
sheet, stapled to the passports of residents of Jammu and
Kashmir for more than a year, thereby questioning the state`s
status as an integral part of India.

New Delhi has been critical of this policy of Beijing
and had conveyed to it that the matter was as sensitive to
India as Tibet was to China.