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Visa row could harm Sino-India ties: Chinese scholars

Terming India’s refusal to extend visas to three Chinese journalists as “inappropriate”, Chinese scholars on Tuesday said taking “revenge” against China for not backing India’s NSG bid could harm the overall bilateral ties. “The expulsions of three Chinese journalists from India are very inappropriate and harm the overall Sino-Indian relationship,” state-run China Daily quoted scholars of Chinese think tanks as saying.

“Taking revenge against China for declining to back Indian membership of the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) could not be an excuse for the expulsions,” Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations told the daily.

“Blaming China for not joining the NSG is groundless. It is well known that membership of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is a necessary qualification for acceptance of NSG members. India is not an NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) member. Thus, it seeking direct membership of the NSG is unrealistic,” he said.

“I think the media and the public should not make a fuss over a trifling incident like this. I am confident that the Chinese and Indian governments can work out a way to solve this problem in the near future,” he said. Jia Duqiang, a senior researcher of Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said that “the move (to not to renew visas) is an unprecedented and very inappropriate one.”

“I think both governments should downplay this issue in a rational way to avoid negative effects on the Sino-Indian relationship,” Jia said.

“China and India are both important regional powers and it is expected that Beijing and New Delhi can solve their differences through negotiations, not in an inappropriate way like this,” Jia said. Neither Xinhua nor the Chinese Foreign Ministry has commented on the issue so far.

The decision triggered speculation in Chinese media circles whether Beijing will carry out “tit-for-tat expulsions” of the Indian journalists stationed in Beijing, the report said. Currently five Indian Correspondents are based in Beijing and two others on 10 month fellowship.

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