India to ease visa rules for Bangladeshis: Govt

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 15:44

New Delhi: Building on improved relations with
Bangladesh, India Wednesday said it proposes to ease visa rules
for visitors from the neighbouring country.

"There is a proposal to relax the procedure relating to
grant of conference visa to Bangladeshi citizens. The matter
is under consideration," Home Minister P Chidambaram said in
the Rajya Sabha.

Answering questions, he said the categories of visitors
for whom visas may be relaxed include professionals regularly
visiting India and requiring longer stay than one year in rare
and exceptional cases.

Visa on medical grounds including for those accompanying
attendants and relatives, may also be eased, Chidambaram said.

As for Indians visiting Bangladesh, he said the visa
regime is reciprocal.

To a question from Sushila Tiriya (Congress) whether India
was working on a plan to declare a unilateral no-fire zone
along the Bangladesh border, the Home Minister said, "No".

While relations with Bangladesh have improved over the
last few years, "I agree there are several undemarcated areas
on both the sides." He said discussions are on. "There is
progress and we would be able to resolve the matter," he said.

Some Indian areas are in their jurisdiction and some
Bangladesh land is with India, he said.

The Home Minister agreed that the issue of illegal
immigrants from Bangladesh "is a grave problem. But we are
addressing it." He said policies of several successive
governments had been the same over the years on the matter.

He said as per provisions under the Foreigners Act and
Tribunal order, over one lakh illegal immigrants from
Bangladesh have been deported and pushed back between 2000 and
2008.

Regarding those who had illegally migrated before 1971 to
India, the Home Minister said the provisions to deal with the
issue are addressed in the provisions of Assam Accord.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 15:44

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