China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that its Kashmir visa policy remains ‘unchanged’, indicating that it will continue to issue stapled visas to Indian residents of the state.
Delhi has repeatedly objected to this, but there has been no progress in resolving the deadlock. The issue is likely to be raised again when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Vietnam this week. Singh is also likely to question China’s growing influence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Reacting to the Chinese iteration of its visa policy, Indian government sources said: “Our view of the matter has been conveyed to the Chinese side. J&K remains an integral part of India. There has to be uniformity in visa policy.”
India suspended high-level military exchanges with China in July after Beijing denied a regular visa to Lt Gen BS Jaswal because the ‘sensitive’ J&K area is under his purview.
Beijing is silently observing the new closeness between India and Japan with the signing of a major trade pact and discussions for a civilian nuclear deal.
"We usually don’t comment on leaders meeting from other countries,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu, when asked to comment on references to China in talks between Singh and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in Tokyo. "Our friendly position with India will stay unchanged," said Ma. "We also value strategic relations with Japan."
Beijing would see Japan’s new closeness to India as countering China at a time when Sino-Japanese ties are tense over territorial claims in the East China Sea. A new poll on the People’s Daily website asked if India, Japan and Vietnam would ‘join hands to deal with China’.