Find Out: Why India Has Suspended Tourist Visas Issued To Chinese Nationals? 

The global airlines body International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that India has suspended tourist visas issued to Chinese nationals residing in the country, on April 20. The airlines’ body has conveyed the same to its member careers as well. 

However, confirming the development, government top officials, said that India was still giving business, employment, diplomatic and official visas to the Chinese. 

The IATA is a global body of airlines with around 290 members that comprise more than 80 percent of global air traffic. 

The move is in response to Beijing’s refusal to cooperate with India on permitting approximately 22,000 Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities to attend physical classes. The neighbouring country of India has till date refused to let them enter. 

These students had to leave their studies in China and come to India when the COVID-19 pandemic began at the beginning of 2020. 

In a circular issued on April 20 regarding India, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said, “Tourist visas issued to nationals of China are no longer valid.” 

Beijing has been hesitant to let stranded Indian students and hundreds of Indian businesses and employees and their families return to their places of study and employment in the country, despite recent concessions to students from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. 

India has been prodding China to let stranded Indian students, primarily medical students and Indians working in China, return to their own country. 

It said the passengers that are allowed to enter India are nationals of Bhutan, India, Maldives, and Nepal; passengers with a residence permit issued by India; passengers with a visa or an e-visa issued by India; passengers with an overseas citizen of India (OCI) card or booklet; passengers with a person of Indian origin (PIO) card; and passengers with a diplomatic passport. 

The IATA also said that tourist visas with a validity of 10 years are no longer valid. 

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, stated on March 17, that India has urged Beijing to adopt a “congenial stance” on the matter as the continuation of the strict restrictions is putting the academic careers of thousands of Indian students in jeopardy, 

Bagchi said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson had stated on February 8, 2022, that China was looking into the matter in a coordinated manner and that arrangements for allowing foreign students to return to China were being examined. 

“But let me clarify that to date, the Chinese side has not given any categorical response about the return of Indian students. We will continue to urge the Chinese side to adopt a congenial stance in the interest of our students and that they facilitate an early return to China so that our students can pursue their studies,” Bagchi said. 

He said the issue was also taken up with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during a meeting in Dushanbe in September last year. The two foreign ministers had held talks in the Tajik capital city on the sidelines of a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). 

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