The government is planning to extend the visa on arrival facility for Chinese tourists ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to Beijing in May, sources said. The matter was discussed on Monday at a meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh where some stakeholders, like security agencies, expressed reservation and requested a cautious approach before taking a final decision.
“The plan is to extend visa on arrival facility for tourists from China, Spain, France, Italy and United Kingdom. A decision will be taken soon,” said a home ministry official requesting anonymity.
“The home minister has accepted the proposal to extend the facility to five more countries for discussion,” said tourism minister Mahesh Sharma, who also attended the meeting.
Since the move will be a reciprocal one with Beijing providing a similar facility to Indians, another area of concern was frequent issuance of stapled visas by China to people from Arunachal Pradesh.
The tourism ministry is pitching to offer the facility to China as in December 2014, a total of 14,083 tourist visa-on-arrival (TVoA) were issued as compared to 2,700 during December 2013, registering a growth of 421.6%.