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One more snub from China
India cancels visit by group of IAS officers
Swati Chaturvedi

New Delhi, May 25
China administered a sharp diplomatic snub to India yesterday by refusing to issue a visa to Gonesh Koyu, an IAS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh cadre who was travelling as a part of a 107-strong delegation of IAS officers.

While 106 visas were issued, China claimed that as a “resident of China” no visa needed to be issued, to that Arunachal official, in an incident which has left MEA officials red-faced.

This is the sixth official delegation during the tenure of the UPA government which has suffered such embarrassment, well placed sources said. It is not known how South Block is going to take the latest snub.

The 107 IAS officers were set to leave on a two-week trip to China as part of the training of officials of the level of joint secretary. They were set to leave on May 26 and were supposed to spend a week at the prestigious Beijing National Academy of Administration and a week in Shanghai. This was part of the “international exposure” capsule jointly designed by the Maxwell School of government, Syracuse, and IIM, Bangalore.

After China took a belligerent stand MEA officials rushed around till late last night in the words of a senior official “like headless chickens” trying to make them issue the visa. The Chinese government refused to budge and MEA was forced to eat crow and cancel the trip.

Said a senior official: “When this has repeatedly happened in the past why can’t the MEA learn a lesson? Should not there be a policy in place to prevent such recurring humiliation?”

The training programme had been in the planning for months. To plan an official trip for 107 officers takes time. Tickets had been bought, even official passports issued but with two days to go China took its stand.

“Whether, it is the defence minister (George Fernandes) being strip searched in the United States or half a dozen snubs on the same grounds from China, the MEA seems to thrive on humiliation. In the process India becomes a laughing stock.”

It may be recalled that China’s denial of a visa on the same grounds to Arunachal CM Gegong Apang some years ago had lead to an uproar in Parliament. Clearly, the MEA learnt no lessons and 107 IAS officers are a disappointed lot with their training a hostage to MEA’s diplomacy. No official comment was available from the MEA.

  • The writer is an anchor with Janmat TV who writes for The Tribune.

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