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India eases visa norms for Pakistanis

PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, New Delhi,
Sep 18, 2004 09:42 PM IST

India further eased visa norms for Pak nationals, creating a positive mood for Indian Prime's meeting with Pak President.

India further eased visa norms for Pakistani nationals on Saturday, creating a positive mood for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.

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The liberalised visa regime announced by external affairs spokesman Navtej Sarna in New Delhi covers journalists, academics, doctors and senior citizens of Pakistan.

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"In order to further the present process in India-Pakistan relations, mindful of the humanitarian considerations and to facilitate people-to-people contact, the government has decided to further liberalise visas for Pakistan nationals," Sarna said.

"These are unilateral measures taken by the government of India to promote people-to-people contact with Pakistan. Naturally, we hope that the Government of Pakistan would also be able to take similar measures," he added.

Measures that would be immediately implemented include multiple entry visas, without prior reference to headquarters, for journalists with minimum accreditation of three years with national or international media of repute.

Such journalists will also be exempted from reporting to the police while in India.

Academics and professors, vice chancellors and those visiting India on the invitation of reputed universities and institutions can also get multiple entry visas and an exemption from reporting to the police.

Similar relaxation is available to medical doctors, if accompanying patients for treatment at leading hospitals in India.

Sarna said all Pakistani nationals above the age of 65 could also be granted visas with exemption from reporting to the police. Besides, any citizen of the neighbouring country can visit up to 12 places in India, instead of three, during each visit.

"There will also be liberalisation in issuing visas for participation in conferences," he added.

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