Non-stapled Chinese visas for J&K journalists

China appears to have relaxed its practice of giving stapled visas to people from J&K.

Last Updated: Apr 11, 2011, 23:24 PM IST

New Delhi: China appears to have relaxed
its practice of giving stapled visas to people hailing from
Jammu and Kashmir as it has given proper pasted visas to four
journalists born in the state.

The journalists are part of the media delegation that
will travel with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to
Sanya in China for the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa
(BRIC) Summit.

China had in 2008 started the practice of issuing visas
on loose sheets of paper to people from Jammu and Kashmir,
inferring that it did not recognise the state being part of
India.

This had been a cause for irritation in bilateral
relations and the matter had snowballed into a major
controversy last July when the then Northern Army Commander Lt
Gen BS Jaswal was given a visa on a loose sheet because he
was serving in the state.

Jaswal was intending to travel to China as part of high-
level military exchanges.

India had reacted strongly by suspending high-level
military exchanges with China till the issue was sorted out.

The matter was then taken up by the Prime Minister with
Chinese President Hu Jintao in Vietnam in October last year
when they had met on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit.

The issue was again raised in December with Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao when he visited here.

Asked whether the matter related to stapled visas would
be taken up by Singh with Chinese President during his meeting
in Sanya, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash
told reporters that he could not pre-judge what would be
discussed.

He, however, recalled that during Wen`s visit here, "the
issue had come up and it was agreed that both sides would be
putting our heads together to seek an early resolution".

Prakash described India`s relations with China as "very
important" and pointed out that it was of the nature of
"strategic and cooperative partnership" with growing
convergences.

"Both sides are making efforts to enhance convergences,"
he said.

Asked whether Singh could take up the issue of presence
of Chinese troops in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Prakash said
he was unable to say what would be on the "broad canvas of
subjects" to be discussed by the two leaders.

PTI