The country has issued a stamped visa for a Kashmiri singer

China appears to be finally responding to India’s concerns over the issuance of stapled visas to people of Jammu and Kashmir, a matter taken up recently by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao.

In a move indicative of shift in Chinese policy on Jammu and Kashmir, Tanya Gupta, a singer from the state has been issued a stamped visa, instead of a stapled one, to travel to perform at the closing ceremony of the ongoing Asian Games in Guangzhou on November 27.

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

When contacted, Chinese embassy officials here said, “it might be an indication of a shift in visa policy of China for the Jammu and Kashmir residents.”

The officials were also quick to mention that the issue was once again expected to be raised by India during Mr. Wen’s visit here next month.

“Though it is for two sides to come to terms with the matter. But the development might be an indication of a shift in policy,” they said.

However, they said Ms. Gupta was invited by the Organising Committee of the Asian Games and was issued a photo pass to travel to China.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed the need for India and China to show sensitivity to each other’s core issues while meeting Mr. Wen in Hanoi last month on the margins of ASEAN summit.

Though National Security Adviser Shivshanker Menon did not spell these core issues while briefing the press in Hanoi, it is clear that the border dispute and policy shift of China on Kashmir are crucial for India and Tibet is a core concern for China.

Beijing also appears not to be much bothered about a prestigious Indian University Jamia Millia Islamia conferring an honorary doctorate on Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, with officials maintaining that “it is an academic decision and not a government decision.”

With the Chinese premier scheduled to visit India on December 16, the move to honour the Dalai Lama is seen as a signal by New Delhi that it will be less sensitive to Beijing’s concerns if its own concerns are not addressed.

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