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Arunachal issue prompts India to cancel planned visa deal with China

(TibetanReview.net, Oct20, 2013) – India has cancelled a plan to sign an agreement to liberalize its visa policy for Chinese business visitors and others. The agreement was to be signed during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China, which begins on Oct 22. The Indian action was prompted by China’s issuance of stapled, rather than regularly stamped, visas for two world youth archery competition participants from the state of Arunachal Pradesh. India does not recognize such a visa because it suggests that the state, referred to by China as south Tibet, is a disputed territory.

India had lodged a strong diplomatic protest with China over the stapled visa issue. China, however, justified its action, while expressing regret that the Arunachali duo could not participate in the competition.

The visa agreement was all set for approval at the Oct 17 Indian Cabinet meeting and was even part of the agenda documents circulated to ministers, noted indianexpress.com Oct 19. However, at the meeting, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon informed the Cabinet that the agreement had been deferred and would not be signed during the visit.

Indian businesses too will suffer as a result of the failure to sign the visa liberalization agreement. Indian IT firms had been rooting for liberalising the existing regime that only permits a maximum six-month business visa with no single stay exceeding 90 days, the report noted. The new agreement was to increase the visa term to one year with a maximum single-stay duration of six months.

Also, the home ministry was to commit to a 30-day deadline for screening employment and project visa applications – a process that can take up to six months now, the report noted.

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