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Understanding reached on stapled visa issue, says Indian envoy

world Updated: Dec 19, 2010 23:27 IST
PTI
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India and China have agreed to "appropriately resolve" the issue of stapled visas to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir with an understanding that officials will continue to meet on the issue, Indian envoy to China S Jaishankar said on Sunday, following Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to New Delhi.

The issue of issuance of stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, which has raised concerns of sovereignty and integrity of India, figured prominently during the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Wen.

Speaking at a prime time show on the state-run CCTV Beijing, Jaishankar said stapled visas was one of issues that "caught a lot of attention" during the visit of Wen.

"This (stapled visas) caused a lot public resentment in India. Here again it was candidly discussed, (during the talks between Wen and Singh).

"There was an understanding that officials will meet and this would be appropriately resolved. Few months from now if I am sitting with you I might give you more positive outlook on this issue," he said, adding the issue raised concerns over the sovereignty and integrity of India.

The differences over the unsettled border issues also figured high in the Wen-Singh talks.

"Border is complicated issue. It is a border of 3500 km (Chinese official media says only 2000 km omitting about 1600 km on the Jammu and Kashmir front) most of it is unsettled. So it is complicated negotiations" being conducted by the Special Representatives of both the countries, he said.

The two sides held the 14th round of border talks before Wen's visit to India.

"The most important development so far is that borders remained peaceful and tranquil and that we have agreements in 1993, 1996 and 2005 to ensure nothing goes wrong at the borders. With 3500 km long borders anything can go wrong," he said.

So far "we actually worked guiding principles and political parameters on how to settle the border. So we have a framework in which we are actually moving to settle the border," he said.

"This comes down to practicalities on the ground," he said stressing that patience is required.

Jaishankar sounded upbeat about achieving the $ 100 billion trade target set for 2015 and was positive on the Premier's promise that China will be "more open" to prime Indian products like IT, pharmaceuticals and agro products.

"Let me make a prediction. We will reach the goal much faster than 2015. I think to reach it what we need to see is much more balanced trade picture," he said.

He insisted that the positive outcome of the visit was the assurance to address longstanding Indian concerns of market access to Chinese markets.

"We heard directly from the Prime Minister himself that China would be more open in all these areas," he said.