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India suspends tourist visas for Chinese nationals in perceived tit-for-tat move

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(TibetanReview.net, Apr24’22) – Tourist visas issued to nationals of China are no longer valid for travel to India, reported the PTI news agency Apr 24, citing the global airlines body International Air Transport Association (IATA). The move is seen as India’s retaliation against China for its discriminatory policy on the return of Indian students to its universities. However, top government officials said India was still giving business, employment, diplomatic and official visas to Chinese nationals, reported the timesofindia.com Apr 24.

The move appeared to be a response to Beijing stonewalling India’s appeals about approximately 22,000 Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities who are unable to go back for physical classes. The neighbouring country has till date refused to let them enter, the report said.

These students had to leave their studies in China and come to India when the Covid-19 pandemic began in the beginning of 2020.

And they have been kept waiting even as Beijing allows students from Thailand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to return, said the timesofindia.com report. External affairs minister S Jaishankar had taken up the issue with his counterpart Wang Yi during the latter’s visit to India last month but Beijing is yet to respond, the report added.

The PTI report cited a circular issued Apr 20 by IATA as saying, “Tourist visas issued to nationals of China (People’s Republic) are no longer valid.”

Passengers allowed to enter India were stated to include: nationals of Bhutan, India, Maldives and Nepal; passengers with a residence permit issued by India; passengers with visa or an e-visa issued by India; passengers with an overseas citizen of India (OCI) card or booklet; passengers with a persons of Indian origin (PIO) card; and passengers with a diplomatic passport.

IATA issues these updates regularly so that airlines know which nationalities are allowed to be flown to which countries. The latest India-specific IATA update, issued Apr 19, is about the countries whose nationals cannot travel to India on e-tourist visas, noted the the timesofindia.com report.

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