Categorised visas to Chinese likely

Move comes close on heels of Beijing continuing with its stapled visa policy for Kashmiris

Coming close on the heels of China refusing to consider the ‘concerns’ expressed by New Delhi about the ‘stapled visas’ issued by the Chinese embassy here, India on Saturday indicated that categorisation of visas may be introduced shortly.

Highly placed sources told Deccan Herald that “categorisation of visa is required so that business related-activities are not affected”. Thus, visas will be issued based on the employment.

The government is also understood to be examining issuing of “project-based” visas to Chinese citizens but no final decision has been taken on this. If this happens, then visas will be further sub-categorised like visa for those employed in power sector, IT sector, steel sector etc.

Unskilled labour

For long, India had been worked up about unskilled workers coming to India through tourist visas and working here in various projects. As India tightened the visa regime, there were reports that several projects especially in the power sector, had been held up. “There were several scores of Chinese workers contracted to work here by the Chinese companies. There were too many unskilled labourers which we have here (Indian) in plenty anyway”, the sources said.

India at present issues five types of visas: transit, tourism, business, education and ‘any other’.

Officially, India, on Saturday,  once again asked Beijing to stop the issue of stapled visas to Indians from Jammu and Kashmir,  which China is doing for quite some time now. Asking Beijing to be sensitive to New Delhi's ‘core concern’ on this issue, a senior official said at a press meet: “We have asked the Chinese side to do away with dual visa policy”.

India is likely to take up the issue prominently when External Affairs minister S M Krishna visits Beijing next week. Krishna, during his four-day visit, will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary in charge of East Asia in the External Affairs ministry, said: “'This is a matter of core concern for India because it goes to the heart of our territorial sovereignty and integrity. We have expressed our concern and we will continue to do so”.

The stapled visa issue came to the fore through press reports in November, 2009 following which New Delhi declared invalid the stand-alone paper visas given by the Chinese embassy and consulates. India also issued a travel advisory, asking those going to China to ensure their visas are pasted on their passports.

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