On the occasion of 71st Independence Day, India will grant medical visa in all "bonafide cases" pending with the Indian High Commission in Pakistan, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj announced on Tuesday. The announcement comes at a time when the matter of granting medical visas to Pakistani citizens has come under spotlight following growing tension in Indo-Pak ties.
"On the auspicious occasion of India's Independence Day, we will grant medical visa in all bonafide cases pending with us. @IndiainPakistan," Swaraj said in a tweet on Tuesday night.
Earlier, New Delhi had put a condition that only a letter of recommendation by then Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz would enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India.
Aziz has since been reshuffled to the post of deputy chairman of Pakistan Planning Commission after Nawaz Sharif's disqualification as Pakistan Prime Minister.
On Sunday, Swaraj had assured a Pakistani woman who is suffering from cancer of granting a visa for her treatment in India.
"Thanks for your greetings on India’s Independence Day. We are giving you the visa for your treatment in India," the minister tweeted to Faiza Tanveer who had requested Swaraj to grant her a medical visa and said she should not be denied it as India is about to celebrate the auspicious occasion of its Independence Day.
According to a figure provided by the government to the Parliament on July 26, India had so far issued 1,05,163 medical visas, many of them to Pakistani citizens. The number of arrivals in the country on medical visa was 66,254 in 2014, which grew to 1,22,121 in 2015 and 1,77,972 in in 2016.