In a clear sign that there are deep divisions within the government over last month’s Dharamshala meeting of Chinese dissidents, the Ministry of External Affairs has now sent a terse letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs complaining about not being consulted on the issue.
In a letter dated May 9, 2016, which The Hindu has accessed, Foreign Secretary Dr. S. Jaishankar has said that “any revocation [of visa] in the future be done in consultation with this ministry.”
The letter sent by Mr. Jaishankar, which is also marked to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, further said, “It would help to better manage the political and media fallout from such decisions.”
In his letter, Mr. Jaishankar said the denial of visas to two other activists — Hong Kong-based Kay Wong and Lu Jinghua, a U.S. national of Chinese descent, would “have probably gone unnoticed” and “it acquired undue media prominence due to the events surrounding the visa revocation of Dolkun Isa.”
The letter comes after a series of conflicting statements appeared on the government’s stand over the Dharamshala conference that had led to sharp criticism from China.
In a press conference on May 6, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson had even said that “there was no conference”, terming the gathering instead as a meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Delegates confirm meet
However, several international delegates and at least two key Indian speakers — Jayadeva Ranade, former senior official and President of Centre for China Analysis and Strategy who is associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) and Congress member of parliament Mani Shankar Aiyer confirmed attending the conference.
Though visas are considered the domain of the MEA, the visa applications of those belonging to restricted countries like Pakistan, China, Yemen and a few African countries are always processed by the MHA, with special clearances required from the Intelligence agencies.
Mr. Jaishankar’s letter comes in response to one sent out by Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma, who had explained the sequence of events surrounding the denial of visa to the two activists from Hong Kong and the U.S.
No probe ordered
While no enquiry has been ordered into the controversy that has been raging since early April, officials said a formal meeting was held at the MHA last week to resolve issues surrounding the conference. After China blocked India’s effort to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as an international terrorist, Dolkun Isa announced that he had been granted visa to attend the conference.
Source : The Hindu