New Delhi has ‘tightened’ Pakistan medical visa rules amid heightening tension between the nuclear arch-rivals. Recently, approval of medical visas for Pakistani patients has become difficult as, according to sources, a “go-slow mode” was being practiced.
According to an Indian Express report, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced on Wednesday it would immediately grant medical visas to Pakistani patients whose application was supported by a recommendation letter from Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
The new medical visa rule, the report said, was in line with unspecified visa restrictions imposed by New Delhi after Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was given death sentence by a special military court in Pakistan for “espionage and subversive activities” in the country.
“We have suggested that their foreign minister or Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz give a recommendation letter and it will be cleared immediately, without any delay,” said Gopal Baglay.
A recommendation, Baglay added, would ascertain that the requests received from Pakistan were “genuine”.
The report claimed New Delhi was silently moving ahead with curbs on visas for Pakistanis visiting India. They have targeted sports persons and are also planning to put artistes on the radar.
Mutual ties and diplomatic atmosphere between Pakistan and India strained after Jadhav’s sentencing, who was arrested on March 3, 2016, during an operation in Balochistan.
Pakistan Army later released his recorded confessional statement in which he admitted to had been working for the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) – India’s primary foreign intelligence agency – to stoke unrest and instability in the country. India denies Jadhav was a RAW agent but admits he was a retired naval officer.
On May 10, India petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to stay the death sentence handed to Jadhav. The international court has set May 15 to hold public hearings in the case.