Thursday, October 1, 2009



"The Hindu" has reported on October 1,2009, that the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi has been issuing visas on a separate sheet of paper to Indian citizens born and resident in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). A Chinese Embassy spokesman has been quoted as claiming that this is not a new practice and has been done even in the past.

2.From a perusal of the two reports from its New Delhi-based correspondent carried by the paper, it would seem that one or two Kashmiris, who are citizens of India, with plain paper visas issued by the Chinese Embassy, were not allowed to leave the country by the Indian immigration and they complained to this correspondent.

3. While the Chinese Embassy has tried to make out that this practice is nothing new, it must have been of recent origin. Otherwise, the Indian immigration would have noticed it and drawn the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs. The veracity of the Chinese claim can be easily established by the Indian Embassy in Beijing requesting Kashmiris ftrom India studying in China to produce their Indian passports in order to see whether they had travelled with plain paper visas. If so, there was definitely negligence on the part of the Indian immigration in not noticing this earlier.

4. The Chinese action in issuing such plain-paper visas to Indian citizens born and resident in J&K is a political statement meant to indicate that China does not recognise J&K as an integral part of India and that it agrees with the Pakistani contention that J&K is a disputed territory.

5.Chinese policy on J&K has passed through three stages. In the first stage till 1996 China automatically supported the Pakistani contention that J&K is a disputed territory and that the violence in J&K did not amount to terrorism.Following the visit of the then Chinese President Jiang Zemin to India and Pakistan in 1996, there was a nuanced change in the Chinese policy. They did not recognise J&K as an
integral part of India, but started avoiding words, actions or gestures which could be interpreted as their support to the Pakistani stand. During the Kargil conflict of 1999, the Chinese reportedly supported the US position that Pakistan should withdraw its troops from the Indian territory in the Kargil Heights and that the Line of Control should be respected. It was the Chinese reluctance to support Pakistan at the time of the Kargil conflict during the visit to Beijing by Nawaz Sharif, the then Pakistani Prime Minister, which made him dash to Washington
after returning to Islamabad and seek a US-backed face-saving before ordering the withdrawal of the Pakistani troops ftrom Indian territory.

6.The Chinese position had stood there since then. Their position till recently can be summed up as follows:Avoiding any action or words or gestures which could be interpreted as their support to either the Pakistani stand that J&K is a disputed territory or the Iindian stand that J&K is an integral part of India. At the same time, they have consistently maintained their past policy of refusing to categorise the violence in J&K as terrorism.

7.Their practice of issuing plain paper visas to Indian citizens born and resident in J&K, whenever it started, indicates their sliding back to their pre-1999 position of support to the Pakistani stand that J&K is a disputed territory and rejection of the Indian stand that J&K is an integral part of India.

8.India should not remain content with merely taking up this issue at the diplomatic level with China. There is a need for concrete action to express our displeasure over the insidious Chinese practice. The Indian diplomatic and consular missions in China should be asked not to issue any more work visas to Chinese selected by their companies to work in their projects in India. The visas of the Chinese already
working in India should not be extended when they expire. It should be made clear to the Chinese that the issue of work visas to Chinese nationals will be resumed only when their practice of issue of plain paper visas is discontinued. ( 2-10-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )


Vijainder K Thakur said...

With all due respect I think India must not be seen to react, but act, something more befitting of a great power.

China is acting to dissuade a closer US India alliance.

India must act to dissuade a Chinese adventure along the LAC. Focus on the infrastructure, training and weaponry required to secure our borders, letting the Chinese waste their paper on visas.

Every thing else must go on as before, on the merit of the case. If the Chinese execute projects at lower costs and with better quality, let the Indian industry rise to the challenge, not the bureaucrats.

The cards you hold close to your chest are more worrisome than the ones you play. It is not yet time to play our hand.

rajeev said...

What you are saying is realistic. China is in a better position than India. But you cant let a more powerful entity bully you at every chance. In the same vein, are we able to bully Pakistan? Infact its the other way round. For that matter even the mighty US is not able to bully Pakistan inspite of donating billions of beg money every year. Has US ever been able to bully China even when it was a lesser power?

Bharat Verma is right. India is a pacifist nation with no backbone.

Kautilya said...

What we always belive as mutual corporation and so called "Panchasheel Tatva". This stand readily bullying our guts in eyes of Chinease. This happen because millitry component is missing in our foreign policy. Look at China, Pak, US or every country in world , they do have flex of muscles. With whopping so called bilateral trade of indo -china crossing 50b$, if I am not wrong we are facing strong deficit in trade, but that can be compensated to put China onto negociation table and strangulate them. I am agast to observe indian Government policy to negociate with China.Trade is the only weopen you do have to knee down any superpower. Doest PAk and China do have same volume of trade? surely not then what for Government is waiting to take financial blockade ? If china can use its financial influence to arouse our inimical neghboures or in world then why do we not despite single handed offering such hoih volume of trade to them ? In todays recession, we the customer, is on the hot seat than shopkeeper. Its high time to India to use all its "Vania" intellegentisia to strangulate these urchin China . Otherwise its pathetic to speculate defeat of our foreign policy on every front despite we are having larger importer of commodities in world.

Unknown said...

Why resume giving work visas even when they start issuing proper visas? Clearly the Chinese companies are favoring Chinese nationals over Indians for even semi skilled work. There are thousands of Indian engineers without work. The argument that they are not properly skilled does not hold. One has to look at the IT companies both Indian and MNCs who train and retain Indian engineers. Even Indian IT companies such as TCS trying to get a share of the Chinese market train and employ mostly locals there. The govt should ensure that only those companies that are committed to doing business in India for long term are allowed and those who just bring their own workers, do the work, earn in millions and billions and fly away without giving anything in return to the country should not be allowed. We need a proper visa system like in some Western countries that require proof that locals are not available for the work.

Unknown said...

Chinese seem to have mastered the art of detached; below the belt; off the curve irritations against India apart from their open opposition like blocking UN funds etc.

The point put forth by Shri Raman Sir is a befitting reply and I guess its a simple tit for tat - which is like speaking to Chinese in Chinese..

Infrastructure build up, matching upto capabilities are "another language" that will take even more time; especially with the "speed" in which the present govt is handling china issue :-(

Further, in business scenario as well,. we shouldnt forget - it was the same china which ADMITTED they pushed in fake drugs into Africa after labelling it - made in India!

The actions of the adversary is not around fair play nor gentlemanship. So enough playing the "panchsheel"/Gandhism" -- which have become mere branding/diplomatic idealogues that doesnt seem to work with the chinese..