In a sign that there were different ways of managing the complex India-China relationship, India has pressed the pause button on a visa liberalisation agreement that was widely expected to be signed.
“We were close to a visa agreement but when [China] did the stapled visas [to the archers from Arunachal Pradesh] we said we will do it slowly. Let them sweat it out,” an official said, describing China’s move, days before the agreement was to come up before the Union Cabinet, as “very silly”. As a result, the agreement was pulled from the Cabinet’s agenda last week. However, officials conceded that India may not be able to delay it for long as Indian companies are lobbying hard for the new visa regime to enable their Chinese business partners to visit more easily.
The Indian side is expected to raise the stapled visa issue, along with several other Indian concerns in its relations with China, including Beijing’s strategic partnership with Pakistan, extremism, terrorism and radicalism in the region, and the future of Afghanistan in conversations that Dr. Singh will have with a range of Chinese leaders — Premier Li Keqiang, President Xi Jinping and former Premier Wen Jiabao.
Mr. Singh will also get a significant opportunity to address future leaders of the Communist Party of China, when he speaks at the Party School on Thursday.