India raises concern over China stapling visas for Kashmir residents

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Beijing, Apr 8 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has clarified that the issue of China stapling visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir has been raised with the Chinese Government during External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's visit.

Rao, who addressed the media after Krishna's meetings with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi, said the issue of Beijing giving stapled visas to Indians from Kashmir is "a subject of ongoing discussion".

"New Delhi has strongly conveyed its concern over China stapling visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir, she said.

"You are aware of our position in this regards that we don't accept the stapled visas that have been put on passports of some Indian citizens, the Indian citizens who reside in Jammu and Kashmir. Our position in this regard was made clear again to the Chinese side during this visit," she added.

Rao further said that the External Affairs Minister had also conveyed India's concerns on PoK projects . Beijing assured New Delhi that undertaking projects in PoK did not change China's policy that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan to be resolved through dialogue.

"The Chinese side was given the full picture of why we feel this way about their activity in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)," she said. "What they (China) do in PoK is without prejudice to their position on PoK," she added.

Rao further said that cyber security was also of paramount importance to New Delhi.

"Cyber security is of paramount importance and we will of course take all necessary steps to safeguard our assets against such attacks," noted Rao.

Earlier, Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi signed an agreement to establish a hotline between the Prime Ministers of the two countries.

India had protested in November last year against a Chinese embassy policy of issuing different visas to residents of Kashmir.

Consequently, the Indian Foreign Ministry declared this mode of visas issued by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi for Kashmir residents visas on a separate sheet of paper and not in a passport as invalid. By Lokendra Singh (ANI)

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