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India and Pakistan to Approve Long-Pending Visas for Diplomats and Others | India News


NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan appear to be close to solving the thorny issue of assignment visas that has plagued bilateral relations for more than 2 years. TOI learned that the 2 countries reached an agreement that, on June 16, they will approve all pending assignment visas for diplomats and other staff members.
According to the understanding, both countries will approve the pending visas at the same time on the aforementioned day.
As TOI reported on May 25, India last month had withdrawn some officials from their mission in Islamabad without waiting for Pakistan to approve visas for their replacements. Despite having completed their mandate, these officials were forced to remain in Islamabad for a very long period of time.
With decisions on visas, and indeed all other issues in India-Pakistan relations, based on reciprocity, or the lack of it, Pakistan has also been waiting for India to approve visas for diplomats and other staff members. In the case of India, it was learned that about 30 staff members, including several diplomats, are waiting for visas.
Timely authorization of assignment visas, or visas intended for diplomats and foreign government officials to enable them to carry out their functions on behalf of their national governments, is essential for the proper functioning of foreign missions. This is even more so in the case of India and Pakistan, where both countries have already halved the strength of their respective missions after India’s decision to cut ties last year.
Even before that, Pakistan had withdrawn its high commissioner after India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, forcing India to do the same.
The visa competition, if it unfolds as planned on June 16, will be a welcome and significant development that will allow both parties to carry out normal diplomatic activities. However, as sources said, it would be premature to see it as a sign of a thaw in relationships.
The conversation about a possible rapprochement after the February ceasefire agreement has faded in recent months despite reported attempts, apparently at the behest of the UAE, to bring the 2 countries closer together and ensure they reestablish ties. full diplomats. However, the approval of official visas will allow them to maintain the status quo.
During his recent visit to the US, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said that while it was important if there was an idea that Pakistan needed to have a better relationship with India, there was a “clarity of thought” on the side. Indian “that we cannot accept. terrorism, or we cannot accept that it is in any way legitimate as diplomacy or as any other aspect of the art of government.”
Pakistan responded to Jaishankar claiming that peace and security in the region were threatened due to India’s “brutalization of the Kashmiri people and the refusal to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with Security Council Resolutions. of the United Nations”.

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