Visa delay stalls Chinese delegations’ visits
The visits were organised as part of enhanced contacts that had been proposed following meetings of the India-China high-level mechanism on cultural and people-to-people exchanges.Updated: Nov 13, 2019 00:09 IST
The visit to India of at least five delegations from China is yet to go ahead because of a delay in issuance of visas, people familiar with developments said on Tuesday.
The delegations, mostly from provincial governments across China, including one from various universities, were expected to travel to the country in November and there is now a question mark on whether the visits will happen this year, the people cited above said.
The visits were organised as part of enhanced contacts that had been proposed following meetings of the India-China high-level mechanism on cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The body, co-chaired by the foreign ministers of the two countries, has met twice since December last year.
“As of now, there is no clarity on when the visas will be issued and whether the visits, which are already delayed, will happen within this year,” said one of the people cited above, who spoke on condition of anonymity
The reason for the delay in the issue of visas for the delegations could not immediately be ascertained. There was no word on the development from Indian officials.
A second person, who too declined to be named, said there was a set procedure for issuing visas to members of visiting foreign delegations and this was being followed in these cases too.
The people cited above clarified that a proposed visit of a Chinese business delegation to participate in the China-India Forum to be held in New Delhi during November 13-14 was put off because of technical reasons, and not because of denial of visas.
The eighth edition of the business meet was being jointly organised by FICCI and the International Business Linkage Forum (IBLF).
A message posted on IBLF’s website said: “Due to unforeseen circumstances we have been advised to postpone the forum for the time being. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. We hope to announce the new event date soon.” It did not give further details.
A Chinese delegation of about 70 members was expected to join the event. According to IBLF’s website, more than 200 Chinese delegates participated in last year’s event held in Pune.
India-China relations were buffeted earlier this year by Beijing’s strong support for Islamabad after New Delhi’s August 5 decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and reorganise the state into two union territories. China opposed the creation of the union territory of Ladakh despite India’s contention that the changes had no implications for the country’s external borders.
China’s support for Pakistan’s efforts to raise Kashmir at the UN Security Council in August and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s reference to the issue during his address at the UN General Assembly in September also irked India.
However, the two sides set aside the Kashmir issue at the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Mamallapuram in October and focused on improving trade relations.
The two sides decided to set up the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue mechanism, to be led by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and vice premier Hu Chunhua, to enhance trade ties and discuss all related matters, including India’s concerns about the trade deficit of more than $50 billion.
Modi and Xi also decided to 2020 as the year of India-China cultural and people-to-people exchanges and to use the 70th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations next year to deepen exchanges at all levels, including between the legislatures, cultural and youth organisations and militaries.