Krishna asks China not to discriminate among Indian nationals

     External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Thursday asked China not to discriminate among the Indian nationals while issuing visas to travel to that country. Krishna's statement came in the backdrop of Chinese Embassy new practice of issuing stamped visas to people of Jammu and Kashmir on a separate sheet of paper. "It has come to the notice of the Government of India that China is issuing different visas to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We are taking up the issue with Chinese Government," Krishna told Asian News International in an exclusive interview. Krishna said: "We will tell them that visa related issue should be uniform, there should not be any discrimination among the Indian nationals while issuing visas." "Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India so there should be uniformity while issuing the passport," the External Affairs Minister added. Krishna further said that he didn't know about Chinese intention behind giving separate visas to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Commenting on whether India will also initiate any new visa guidelines for the Chinese nationals, Krishna said: "Let us not jump the gun, we will have to deal with our neighbours diplomatically." Earlier, China issued separate stamped visas to those hailing from Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as a disputed territory. New Delhi feels that the action with regard to Kashmiri travellers is seen as an attempt by Beijing to question the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a part of India. According to sources, this development throws into question whether Beijing will be willing to continue for long its reluctant third party position to the dispute over Kashmir, in the light of its own geopolitical and territorial interests. An openly discriminatory move towards Kashmiris certainly will not help reduce tension along the lines of control that separate Chinese and Indian forces, they said.

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