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PM raises issue of stapled visas with Li Keqiang

October 23, 2013 14:21 IST

India on Wednesday objected to the issue of stapled visas by China to residents of some states over whose parts Beijing has laid claim to, even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged his commitment to visa simplification to facilitate travel of Chinese nationals.

The issue of stapled visas to two Indian women archers from Arunachal Pradesh by the Chinese Embassy in Delhi recently was raised during the discussions between Prime Minister Singh and Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Singh told the media after his talks that "I conveyed to remier Li our commitment to visa simplification to facilitate travel of Chinese nationals to India and expressed the hope that China will also facilitate such exchanges."

Ahead of the visit, there were indications that an agreement on a liberalised visa regime was close to being signed between the countries.

But upset over the issue of stapled visa to Arunachal Pradesh residents, India decided to defer the issue in a virtual tit-for-tat. Source said the agreement will be signed "some day" but for the moment India has decided to "slow down things".

Refusing to go into the details of what was discussed in the meeting between the two prime ministers, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said in reply to questions at a press briefing that the stapled visa came up.

"It will be under discussion," she said when asked whether the Chinese have given assurances on the issue of not resorting to such a practice in the future.

The foreign secretary asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India but refused to go into details of the discussions. "I have told you what we can share with you at this moment," she said.

Asked whether the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil was discussed at the meeting between Singh and Li, she said the issue did come up.

"Without going into details as to what we told them and what they told us, I can say it did come. We put it squarely on the table. We will not go into the specifics," she said.

Pakistan and China have a good relationship which is described as "all weather" friends.

Image: Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Photograph: Kyodo News/Peng Sun/Pool/Reuters

V S Chandrasekar in Beijing
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