India, Pakistan now fight over visas

But spirit of neighbours' Ufa agreement to stay

India, Pakistan now fight over visas

A day after India and Pakistan accused each other of violating ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border, a new visa war erupted between the two countries on Friday. 

However, both countries are likely to go ahead with the meetings agreed upon in Ufa, Russia.

New Delhi accused Pakistan of denying visas to 12 Indian officials, including a naval attaché, who was to be posted in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Pakistan retaliated by accusing India of denying visas to five of its officials.

Islamabad is understood to have conveyed its disappointment to New Delhi over the delay in issue of visas to its officials, who were to be posted in the High Commission of Pakistan here. Sources in the Pakistan High Commission claimed though Islamabad had of late granted visas to several Indian officials, New Delhi did not reciprocate the gesture.

Indian officials, however, said Pakistan had not only denied visa to a yoga guru whom New Delhi wanted to send for the International Yoga Day event at the high commission there, but several government officials had also not received necessary travel documents to visit the neighbouring country.

Though the visa war followed the exchange of fire along the border on Wednesday and Thursday, New Delhi and Islamabad are likely to go ahead with the meetings Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif had agreed upon when they met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Ufa, Russia, on July 10.

That meeting saw India and Pakistan agreeing to a series of meetings between the national security advisors to discuss issues related to terrorism, between chiefs of the BSF and Pakistan Rangers, and between India’s Director-General of Military Operations and his Pakistani counterpart to explore ways to avert ceasefire violations.

Sources said New Delhi and Islamabad had already started discussions for holding the meeting between the BSF chief and his counterpart in the Pakistan Rangers. The meeting is likely to be held here sometime in September, they added.

Sharif’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz told a Pakistani newspaper it was still “too early” to speculate the date of his visit to New Delhi to meet his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

Sources in New Delhi said the meeting might take place as early as late July or early August, if both sides find the situation conducive for holding talks. Meanwhile, Islamabad on Friday registered a complaint with the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) against the reported ceasefire violations by the Army along the LoC. New Delhi does not recognise the UNMOGIP.

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