India has refused to renew the visas of a small group of journalists from Xinhua news agency. The group is said to have made unauthorised visits to Tibetan refugee camps.
Xinhua is China’s official news agency – Beijing condemned the decision as “petty,” saying the decision is not warranted.
A senior official in New Delhi confirmed that the three journalists involved would leave the country within the week.
“They had come to the adverse attention of the security agencies”
“They were doing activities that were not compatible with their journalist status,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The same official said the three journalists were not ‘officially’ expelled but their annual visas would not be renewed due to their actions – they would have to ‘officially’ exit India by July 31.
So far no official report has been issued on why the reporters became a target of dismissal to Indian authorities.
India is home to thousands of Tibetan refugees who fled their Himalayan homeland when China sent in troops in 1951 to suppress an uprising.
A report posted by Hindustan Times said two of the three journalists had visited the Tibetan settlements in the southern state of Karnataka last year.
The article also said that the two journalists had not secured a permit to visit the region and were using fake identities to move from place to place.
“The journalists had not taken the PAP (Protected Area Permit) for visiting the camps but their real identities were detected when they reached there,” an official told the newspaper.
In the 1951 uprising, the Dalai Lama and thousands of others took up settlement around the Indian northern town of Dharamshala where the Tibetan government “in-exile” functions.
Today, many Tibetan’s live in designated settlements in other regions of the country – those are specifically noted as ‘off limits’ to outsiders.
One famous settlement camp known as Karnataka is home to over 40,000 Tibetans.
China says the tensions between the two countries has been part of an attempt to block India from a 48-nation nuclear trade group.
A report posted in Beijing’s state-run Global Times newspaper suggest that the actions of India against its journalists is nothing more than “revenge against China” over the nuclear group veto.
Part of the article states “if New Delhi is really taking revenge due to the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers’ Group) membership issues, there will be serious consequences.”
That same editorial noted that Beijing “should make a few Indians feel Chinese visas are also not easy to get.”