New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement today of e-visas for Chinese tourists drew flak from Congress as it charged that the facility was extended without resolving the issue of stapled visas handed by the neighbouring country to people from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Congress spokesman RPN Singh rued that New Delhi had agreed to the arrangement without Beijing first doing away with stapled visas.
“Diplomacy is all about quid pro quo and reciprocity,” Singh told PTI while pointing out that the issue of e-visas was first raised by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he had visited China. That time, the matter was tagged to the issue of China issuing stapled visas.
“It is unfortunate that the matter (of stapled visas) has not been raised this time at all,” he averred. In a confidence-building measure, Modi, who is on an official visit to China, announced today that India will grant e-visas to Chinese tourists.
The e-visa announcement came in the teeth of concerns expressed by the Home Ministry and security agencies over its possible misuse even as the External Affairs Ministry and Ministry of Tourism pressed for it.
Besides, the e-visa announcement was seen as a prelude to India relaxing investment norms for China to attract large-scale Chinese investment.
As to controversy kicked up yesterday over China's state-owned television showing India's map without Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh while reporting on Modi's visit, the Congress spokesman said it was “extremely belittling”.
“We should take strong exception to it,” he added. The erroneous map was displayed during a bulletin while Modi was in Xi'an city, where he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday.
China has been laying territorial claim over Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu and Kashmir, but India has been strongly resisting it.
Another Congress spokesman, Abhishek Singhvi, took a dig at the Modi government over the map controversy and said that the Chinese, through their action, had showed just how “strong” his dispensation was.
Singhvi further said on twitter that he is unable to understand the rationale behind the Prime Minister's visit to China.
“Still trying to understand the rationale behind Modi's China visit. It is as if he is on a summer vacation,” he tweeted.