Sunday, 31 October 2010

India raises with China the issue of stapled visa for Kashmir residents

India raises with China the issue of stapled visa for Kashmir residents
Friday, 29 October 2010 21:38 Sujoy Dhar

Hanoi, Oct 29: India on Friday raised the contentious issue of stapled visas to Jammu and Kashmir residents by China during the meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao here and urged their neighbour to show sensitivity on core issues, a senior government official said.

The Indian PM met Wen Jiabao for 45 minutes during his ongoing visit to Vietnam where the two leaders are participating in the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits.

Manmohan Singh has conveyed the concerns of India to Beijing, especially the issuance of stapled visas to the resident of Jammu and Kashmir, a move that smacks of China's non-recognition of the region as part of India and a departure from its earlier neutral stand.

"The prime minister raised the issue of all difficult questions and showing sensitivity to each other. The prime minister spoke of the need to show sensitivity to each other's core issues," National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon later told reporters about the

China started the practice of issuing stapled visas about two years back and the issue triggered a major row in July this year when Beijing offered such a visa to India's Northern Area Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal.

India had responded by suspending high-level defence exchanges for which Lt Gen Jaswal was supposed to travel Beijing and made it clear that it would remain on "pause" till China reverted to its earlier position on Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting on Friday was very significant from the point of discussions as the Chinese leader is scheduled to visit India late this year.

Asked if India and China agreed on the core issues with each other, Menon said: "I think we have both indicated to each other and this is an ongoing conversation. It is not one conversation where we mention what concerns either of us."

"So, we will continue that discussion as we lead up to Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit which we are sure will be a very successful and productive visit," he said.

Menon said the significance of the talks is that "both sides reaffirmed their determination to carry this relationship forward along the positive track that we have maintained for several years".

On the India-China boundary issue, Menon said both sides said that they looked forward to an early resolution of the issue.

"Both mentioned the need to carry the process forward from the guiding principles and the political parameters which were agreed and signed in 2005. Both said they would ask the Special Representatives to do so
with a sense of urgency.

"And they agreed that in the meantime, pending a settlement, we will maintain peace and tranquility along the boundary. The SRs are likely to be meeting towards the end of November," he said.

India has also concerns about Chinese projects in the Pak occupied Kashmir(POK).

Setting his point clear to tear apart all vague issues before meeting with the Chinese Prime Minister, Singh said in Malaysia on Wednesday that there was "enormous" possibility of India and China working together as the world has enough space to accommodate the growth ambitions of both the countries.

India and China, two Asian giants, bicker over many issues including disputes over territories and the role of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

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