India raises row over stapled visas to Kashmiris with China

India raises row over stapled visas to Kashmiris with China

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who arrived here in the central Chines city today on two-day visit to attend the meeting of Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC), held separate bilateral talks with his Russian and Chinese counterparts on its sidelines.
In a 70-minute meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi, Krishna sought China's support for India's bid for UNSC permanent seat, stressing the need for the international community to focus "intensively on this issue".

During the meeting, Yang gave "positive" indicators over supporting New Delhi's bid for the membership of the powerful world body, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told journalists.

While seeking China’s support, India also asked it to be sensitive to its concerns relating to Jammu and Kashmir just as it is alive to Beijing's concerns over Tibet and Taiwan.
Referring to the issue of stapled visas being issued by China to residents of Jammu and Kashmir over which India has raised strong objections, Krishna told Yang that as India- China relations evolved and grow both sides should show mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns.

"In the contest of Jammu and Kashmir issue, he (Krishna) expressed hope that China would be very sensitive to our concerns on this very vital issue for India, just as we have been sensitive to Chinese concerns, for instance on the Tibet Autonomous region and Taiwan," Rao said.

China considers Tibet and Taiwan as inalienable part of its territory.Asked for her comments on Chinese reaction to the stapled visa row, Rao said, "You have to read the right meaning in what was conveyed by our Minister to the Chinese Minister".

The public reference to Tibet and Taiwan by India is seen here as a significant indication to show its strong feelings towards China's stand on the stapled visa issue.

The row had culminated in denying visa to the top Indian General B.S. Jaswal on the ground that he headed troops in Jammu and Kashmir, which China considers a disputed area.

Responding to Krishna’s assertions, Yang said China has always held the view that Kashmir issue should be appropriately resolved through dialogue and consultations between India and Pakistan. He said this had been China’s position and continues to be so and it has not altered in anyway.Indian officials hope that China would make efforts to resolve the issue of stapled visas when Chinese Premier Wen visits India next month.
On the issue of New Delhi's permanent membership of the UNSC, Rao quoted Yang as saying that China valued the important role of India in the international affairs and understood and supported India in its desire to play greater role in the affairs of the Security Council.

"China was willing to continue and to increase the consultation and communication with India on the UN reforms," Rao quoted the Chinese Foreign Minister as saying.
"In fact there is overwhelming support from the members of UN for the reorganisation of UNSC,” Rao quoted Krishna as saying.

In response Yang said he "definitely recognised that there had been fundamental change in the world situation and that reform of international bodies especially the UN needed active consideration."

Reacting to Yang's comments, Rao said “the idea of consultation and close communication incrementally speaking is a positive indicator. Whether they have given us full scale endorsement it would be inaccurate to say that. Certainly they are alert to this issue and indeed as what happened in the last few months, we have seen increased focus on it," she said.

The two countries have lined up several meetings, which included the strategic dialogue between the two nations to be conducted by Rao on Monday.

This would be followed by the 14th round of talks to resolve the border dispute to be conducted by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon towards the end of the month in Beijing. Rao said the issues relating to India's concerns over the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, (PoK) did not figure in Sunday's meeting between Krishna and Yang.

"The occasion is trilateral," she said indicating that it could come up during her talks in Beijing on November 16.

The issues relating to terrorism in the region and Pakistan figured in the meeting held over dinner between Krishna and Yang along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

They spoke about terrorism in the region and the situation and felt that the situation in Pakistan had been adversely affected by the activities of terrorist groups.

"They felt that there should be stability in Pakistan because instability in Pakistan would be bad for the region, Afghanistan and bad for all neighbours of Pakistan," Rao said.
The three Ministers also stressed the need to bring about stability within Afghanistan.
Instability with in Afghanistan could affect Central Asian countries, she said adding that Russia is concerned about increased drug trafficking in the region and stressed the need for the international community to take the problem seriously.The three Foreign Ministers would hold a formal meeting of the RIC group here on Monday.

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