China appears to be changing its policy on stapled visa issue

China appears to be changing its policy on stapled visa issue

In recent few weeks, Chinese Embassy here has issued stamped visas to at least three people from the state, including Tanya Gupta, a singer who traveled to Guangzhou to perform at the closing ceremony of Asian Games last month.

Indian officials have recently said that Beijing has given an assurance that the issue of giving stapled visas to those from Jammu and Kashmir will be resolved and that it will not affect bilateral diplomatic exchanges.

The move, seen as a good solvent by New Delhi for bilateral ties, especially ahead of Wen's visit to India from Wednesday, will also help in easing of some irritants which occurred in the past one year between the two countries.

However, when asked about issuance of stamped visas and if there was a change in China's policy, the officials in the Chinese embassy here said they were not aware of issuance of any such visas.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had raised the stapled visa issue during his meeting with Wen on the margins of ASEAN in Vietnam in October and stressed the need for both countries to show sensitivity to each other's core issues.

The Chinese have been issuing visa on a separate sheet, stapled to the passports of residents of Jammu and Kashmir for more than a year, thereby questioning the state's status as an integral part of India.

New Delhi has been critical of this policy of Beijing and had conveyed to it that the matter was as sensitive to India as Tibet was to China.

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