India hopes China will resolve stapled visas, offers UN support

Monday, December 13, 2010

NEW DELHI - Two days before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao touches down here for a three-day visit, India Monday hoped that China would support it’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and address its concerns over stapled visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Amid concerns about the widening trade deficit with China, India also said it will take up the issue with Beijing but in the same breath pitched for greater market access for Indian goods in Chinese markets as wells as Chinese investment, specially in the infrastructure sector.

“We have taken up the issue many a time. We hope the Chinese side will address the issue, Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary (China) in the external affairs ministry, told reporters.

“Our concerns have been articulated. The Chinese are aware of our concerns, ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said.

They were responding to a question on why, despite India conveying its concerns several times, Beijing has yet to scrap the practice of issuing stapled visas to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir it began two years ago in what is seen as a ploy to question India’s sovereignty over the state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will discuss all issues of concern, including stapled visas, Chinese investment in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and the widening trade deficit with Wen during the delegation-level talks Thursday. He will also discuss a host of global issues, including UN reforms, the global financial crisis, climate change and global terrorism.

Wen begins a three-day visit to India here Wednesday, his second to the country. During Wen’s last visit in 2005, the two sides finalized guiding principles and political parameters for resolving their boundary dispute.

As India gears up to join the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member Jan 1, 2011, New Delhi is hoping for an evolution of Beijing’s position over its bid for a permanent seat in the council beyond the usual formulation about a bigger role in the UN.

China is the only permanent member of the five-member Security Council which has yet to declare its support for India’s candidacy.

“We believe we have impeccable credentials to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Prakash said.

“China had supported our candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council. We are in touch with all friends and interlocutors over the issue, he said.

China has conveyed earlier it understood India’s aspirations to play a greater role in the UN, he added.

Prakash added that India will take up the issue of trade imbalances, estimated to be $19.2 billion against India, and seek access to India’s products in the IT, agriculture and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Around 400 top Chinese businessmen are accompanying the Chinese premier on a visit that aims at taking business ties to new heights despite a host of contentious issues.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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