Wednesday, October 27, 2010

China rebuffs India, says it policy on J&K visas unchanged

China has been issuing stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir since 2008. The policy had its biggest fall out when China recently declined to grant visa to Lt.Gen. B S Jaswal, the Chief of Indian Army's northern command for official talks here on the ground that he headed troops of a disputed area.The move prompted India to put on hold all defence exchanges with China, even though Beijing played down the move saying that defence ties are intact.Earlier China stapled visa policy coupled with references of Gilgit and Baltistan which are part of Pakistani Kashmir, as Northern Areas Pakistan by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson created an impression that China changed its neutral stand on the status of Kashmir.However, an official online map released by China to rival Google displayed the Line of Control, (LOC) in Kashmir region acknowledging the both sides of the areas respectively under the control of India and Pakistan. It also recognises the Northern Areas of Gligit and Baltistan as part of the "Pakistan controlled" Jammu and Kashmir.The stapled visa issue has emerged as an irritant in Sino-Indian ties at a time when bilateral trade is set to cross USD 60 billion target set for this year.PTI

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