With K-word, Krishna To Visit China3 April 2010
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister, S M Krishna will take up with China several issues including the stapled visa for Kashmiris and Beijing’s investment in Pakistan administered Kashmir, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday. Krishna goes to Beijing on a four-day visit Monday, his first to that country since becoming foreign minister in May last year. Briefing media on the visit, the External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Vishnu Prakash said China’s new practice of stapling visas to Indian citizens (Kashmiris) was a matter of serious concern. “It concerns our sovereignty. We will press them over this issue.” Joint Secretary, East Asia, Gautam Bambawale said India was of the view that a uniform practice should be followed with regard to issuing of visa regardless of ethnicity and domicile of Indian nationals. He said, the issue involves national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Stating that India had already taken up the issue of Chinese constructions in Pakistan administered Kashmir. “Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and any construction there by a foreign body is illegal,” Vishnu Prakash told newsmen. In reply to a question, he said that China has made it clear that the Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally by India and Pakistan. During his stay in China, the External Affairs Minster will inaugurate the festival of India in China and attend a function to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two Asian giants. India will also participate in a big way in Shanghai World Expo beginning May. Another issue of concern which was expected to be taken up during the meeting of Krishna - who will meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and hold parleys with his counterpart Yang Jiechi - was trade imbalance. The Indian side is pressing for greater access to some of its goods in the markets there. This will be Krishna's first bilateral visit to China since he became the foreign minister in May last year and his first trip after relations came under strain last year over a host of issues including reported intrusion by Chinese troops along the border and Beijing's claims over Arunachal Pradesh. The issue of stapled visas to Kashmiris is set to figure in discussions between the two countries during Krishna's talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing next week. In November last year, India declared invalid the stand-alone paper visas given by the Chinese embassy and consulates for Indians from Jammu and Kashmir. India also issued a travel advisory, asking those going to China to ensure their visas are pasted on their passports. China, which claims sovereignty over the Indian northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh, had also issued stand-alone visas to residents from that state. In some cases, the Chinese side did not accept visa requests from residents of Arunachal Pradesh on the premise that they did not require visa to travel to China because it was their native country.