Beijing stokes boundary dispute with New Delhi
NEW DELHI: On a day when China put on display for the world the vast canvas of its military might to commemorate 60 years of the existence of the People’s Republic, it did not lose sight of a key strategic objective: to keep India on alert by stoking aspects of the unresolved boundary dispute between them.
While the Indian Prime Minister hailed China’s 60th anniversary as an “important milestone and an occasion for celebrations of your great nation’s many achievements”, China defended a recently introduced practice of granting Indian citizens from Jammu and Kashmir visas to
visit the mainland on a separate document, not the passport, as is normal.
China, which disputes India’s control over the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, has routinely denied visas to Indians whose domicile is Arunachal Pradesh.
By adding those from Jammu & Kashmir to the list of those whose visas cannot be stamped on their official passports, China is ensuring that its “all-weather friend” Pakistan’s claims over Kashmir’s “disputed” status are kept simmering, by questioning the state’s accession to India.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs criticised the Chinese move as discriminatory.
“It is our considered view and position that there should be no discrimination against visa applicants of Indian nationality on grounds of domicile or ethnicity,” said MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash, reacting to the Chinese Embassy’s recent practice to issue visas to Indians from Kashmir on a separate sheet of paper and not on their passport, as is the norm for other Indian
“We have conveyed our well-justified concern to the Chinese government,” he said.
The Chinese embassy in New Delhi did not respond to queries about when the practice was begun, but an embassy spokesperson said the visas were valid.