External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday admitted that the issue of China granting stapled visas to Indians from Arunachal Pradesh remains “unresolved.”
She said this issue, along with the pending ones of the land border agreement, the recognition of the Line of Actual Control and of sharing hydrological data, had been taken up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Beijing.
Asked whether China had offered any clarification, when India had extended the facility of e-visas for Chinese tourists, she said: “The two issues cannot be correlated. E-visa is not a concession, it has been done to promote tourism and it is only allowed for 30 days after proper verification.”
Much to India’s chagrin, China continued to grant stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh, claiming it to be a part of its territory. The issue continued to hang fire despite successive governments taking up the matter with the Chinese and registering their protest.
In 2012, during the UPA government’s tenure, China agreed to stop stapling visas of Jammu and Kashmir residents.
For its part, India announced the decision to grant e-visa to Chinese tourists during Mr. Modi’s recent visit to China. Ms. Swaraj said the Prime Minister had in no uncertain terms told the Chinese government that for the 21st Century to belong to Asia, all pending issues would have to be resolved.
The Minister also said India had objections to the Pakistan-China economic corridor only if it involved activities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Asked whether India had taken up the issue of China putting a technical hold on its effort to seek the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) sanctions against Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, Ms. Swaraj said New Delhi had conveyed to Beijing that terrorism was an issue that concerned them as well and that should be borne in mind when they vote [at the UNSC].
India had also told China that there should be freedom of navigation and trade in the South China sea and use of threat was not good.