India Raises Issue Of Stapled Visas With China7 April 2010
Beijing: India has inked an agreement with China to set up a hotline between Prime Ministers of the two countries as it conveyed its serious concerns to the leadership here over Beijing's issuance of stapled visas to Kashmiris and engagement in projects in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The establishment of the hotline showed how close India and China were with each other, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said, wrapping up his four-day visit here during which he held wide-ranging talks with Premier Wen Jiabao and his counterpart Yang Jiechi. Briefing the media on Krishna's meetings here, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said he strongly conveyed India's concern over China stapling visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir, during his meeting with Yang. 'We do not accept the stapled visas on the passports of residents from Jammu and Kashmir. Our position in this regard was again made clear during the talks. They (the Chinese side) listened attentively what we said. We underlined the need for more sensitivity to be shown to Indian concerns in this regard. This is a subject of ongoing discussion with China. That is where it stands at the moment,' she said. On Krishna's assertion that China should support India's aspiration to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, she said 'the issue was raised with Premier Wen by the Minister.' 'The Chinese position in this regard was as encapsulated in the joint statement issued after Prime Minster (Manmohan) Singh's visit to China in 2008,' Rao said. The 2008 joint statement had said China attached 'great importance' to India's position as a major developing country in international affairs. 'The Chinese side understands and supports India's aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations, including in the Security Council,' it had said. On China undertaking development projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Rao said 'yes, the matter was raised. Our concerns were conveyed.' 'The Chinese side was given the full picture of why we feel this way about their activity in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK),' she said. The Chinese stand was that the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan should be resolved through bilateral dialogue in a peaceful way. 'What they (China) do in PoK is without prejudice to their position on PoK,' Rao said. She said Krishna also raised the issue of the detention of 21 diamond merchants from Gujarat by China on charges of smuggling and emphasised that the legal process should be conducted in a transparent manner.