Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Friday of granting e-visas for Chinese tourists drew flak from the Congress as it charged that the facility was extended without resolving the issue of stapled visas handed by the neighbouring country to people from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Congress spokesman R.P.N. Singh rued that New Delhi had agreed to the arrangement without Beijing first doing away with stapled visas.
Quid pro quo “Diplomacy is all about quid pro quo and reciprocity,” Mr. Singh told PTI while pointing out that the issue of e-visas was first raised by the former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, when he had visited China. That time, the matter was tagged to the issue of China issuing stapled visas.
“It is unfortunate that the matter [of stapled visas] has not been raised this time at all,” he said.
In a confidence-building measure, Mr. Modi, who is on an official visit to China, announced that India would grant e-visas to Chinese tourists.
The announcement came in the teeth of concerns expressed by the Home Ministry and security agencies over its possible misuse even as the External Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism pressed for it.
Besides, the e-visa announcement was seen as a prelude to India relaxing investment norms for China to attract large-scale Chinese investment.
As to controversy kicked up on Thursday over China’s state-owned television showing India’s map without Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh while reporting on Mr. Modi’s visit, the Congress spokesman said it was “extremely belittling.”