Construction Works In PoK, Stapled Visas To Top Krishna’s China Agenda4 April 2010
The Indian Express
New Delhi: As external Affairs Minister S M Krishna prepares to leave for a four-day visit to China starting Monday, the two sides will look at leaving behind recent acrimony and turn a new page in bilateral relations. Top sources said China is the only country with which India interacts at all levels - be it as a neighbour, an emerging power, a regional player or an economic giant - and continuation of this relation will be the focus of the visit. In this context, India is also keen on a membership at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and is looking forward to sending a high-level delegation, headed by Krishna, to the next meeting of the organisation that will be held in Uzbekistan in June. One of the aims of the meeting will be to finalise the criteria of expansion of the organisation. India and Pakistan already have observer status at the SCO. “This is a matter of core concern for India because it is at the heart of our territorial sovereignty and integrity,” Joint Secretary in-charge of East Asia in the External Affairs Ministry Gautam Bambawale said a press interaction ahead of Krishna’s visit. He added that India will continue to press the Chinese side on the matter. It may be recalled that India has forbidden individuals with stapled visas to exit the country after several cases of such ‘discriminating’ visas came to light. The issue will be part of discussions between Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing. This will be Krishna’s first visit to China and also the highest level Indian visit since the current government took over last year. Also, given Chinese concerns, the issue of work visas to Chinese workers will also be discussed. This is one of the major outstanding issues between the countries, given that more than 20,000 Chinese workers have been sent back as they were working on business visas. It is learnt that the Indian side is still trying to resolve the issue and one of the proposals that has emerged is the creation of a new category of project visas that will address most concerns about Chinese workers. The issue was discussed at a Committee of Secretaries meeting and certain ministries insisted that Chinese workers were required to complete the ongoing projects. The two sides will also exchange views on Iran with both sides having significant stakes in the country. While India has long-standing ties with Iran, China derives important resources from the country. Both countries have also been reticent in giving an all-out approval to US sanctions against Iran. The situation in Afghanistan will also come up for discussions.