After Crossborder Exchange, India, Pakistan in War of Words Over Visa

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The Line of Control that divides Kashmir and acts as India-Pakistan border. Image: Channi Anand/AP
The Line of Control that divides Kashmir and acts as India-Pakistan border. Image: Channi Anand/AP

NEW DELHI —  It seems the more things change between India and Pakistan, the more they remain the same. After the ceasefire violations on the border that escalated tensions between the neighbors, both sides have been involved in ‘visa war’ on Friday. Both countries have accused each other of not issuing assignment visas to their diplomats and officials, reports Press Trust of India.

India maintains that Pakistan has not issued visas to its 12 officials including a Naval attache, Pakistan has denied the charge.

A Pakistani source told PTI, “It is, unfortunately, the Indian side which links issuance of visa to everything else. Pakistan has recently issued several assignment visas to Indian officials but none were issued by India. Visas to our diplomats and officials including air and naval attaches are stuck with India now for many months.”

But sources in the government say that all Pakistani officials except five have been granted their visas, the remaining are stuck due to some issues. They are also critical of Pakistani authorities for not issuing a visa to an Indian yoga instructor who was to take part in International Yoga Day celebrations organised by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

Pakistan remains firm that India “unhelpfully continues to link all other administrative aspects to the visa issue which is indeed regrettable and is lately behaving in most uncooperative way”.

The present row between the two countries comes after heightened tension along their border resulting in casualties on both sides.

After a high level meeting yesterday, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said, “We remain committed to steps that ensure peace and tranquility. But any unprovoked firing from Pakistan would be met with an equal and effective response.”

India’s stern response came after New Delhi and Islamabad lodged protests against each other over border firing and Pakistan’s claim that it had shot down an Indian “spy drone”, which has been rubbished by New Delhi.

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