4 Apr : India’s concerns on a host of issues, including issuance of stapled visas and “illegal” construction in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, will be taken up by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during his meetings with Chinese leadership when he visits China from Monday.
Briefing the reporters ahead of the minister’s four-day visit, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said the entire gamut of bilateral issues will be taken up, including the boundary issue, “illegal” construction by Chinese companies in PoK and China issuing stapled visas to those hailing from Jammu and Kashmir.
India has been maintaining that any construction in PoK by China was “illegal”.
This has been conveyed to China at every level as it was a matter of “core concern” to the country, said Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the ministry Gautam Bambawale.
However, Prakesh maintained that the two countries, which have divergent views on various issues, have “maturity and confidence” to resolve them and “narrow our areas of divergence”.
Another issue of concern which was expected to be taken up during the meeting of Krishna- who will meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and hold parleys with his counterpart Yang Jiechi was trade imbalance.
The Indian side is pressing for greater access to some of its goods in the markets there.
Asked if the issue of 21 Indians, who have been charged with diamond smuggling in China, will be raised, Bambawale said there will be enough time to take up visa and consular issues during the visit.
India has once again sought consular access to these 21 people and requested China to allow them to meet their immediate family members which will happen soon, he said.
This will be Krishna’s first bilateral visit to China since he became the foreign minister in May last year and his first trip after relations came under strain last year over a host of issues including reported intrusion by Chinese troops along the border and Beijing’s claims over Arunachal Pradesh.
Besides holding consultations on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest with his counterpart, the minister will also flag off the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The minister will also formally inaugurate the Festival of India in China.
Prakash said the President will also be going there during the festival year but the dates are yet to be finalised.
On China’s response to India’s concern over the issuance of stapled visas, the officials said “we have asked China to do away with this” and “we will continue doing it and we hope our position is taken on board.”
Asked about the proposed visit of Hurriyat leaders to China, the officials downplayed the issue saying that the people of two countries were free to travel anywhere.
“That is fine,” Prakash said but maintained that any invitation from either country should be “sensitive to each other’s concern.”
Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had met China’s Director of Foreign Affairs Ying Gang on the sidelines of United Nations’ Convention on Human Rights at Geneva last month.
Ying invited Mirwaiz to visit China and the Hurriyat leader has promised to do so.
The officials also reiterated India’s commitment to showcase the country in a big manner at Shanghai Expo to be held in from 1st May to 31st October.