China furious over expulsion of Chinese journalists in India on security reasons
NEW DELHI (APP) - India has refused to renew the visas of a group of journalists from China's state-run Xinhua news agency, government sources said Monday, after they reportedly made unauthorised visits to Tibetan refugee camps.
As Beijing's official media condemned what it called a "petty" decision, a senior official in New Delhi confirmed three journalists would have to leave India within the week at the security services' instigation.
"They had come to the adverse attention of the security agencies," the official told on condition of anonymity.
"They were doing activities that were not compatible with their journalist status."
The official said the trio were not being officially expelled but their annual visas would not be renewed and they would have to leave by July 31.
There was no official word on why the reporters had fallen foul of the Indian authorities.
But a report in Monday's Hindustan Times said two of them had visited Tibetan settlements in the southern state of Karnataka last year, without securing a permit from the home ministry and while using false identities.
"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.
Many of those who took flight -- including Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama -- settled in and around the Indian northern town of Dharamsala where a Tibetan government in-exile functions.
Others live in designated settlements elsewhere in the country that are off-limits to foreigners, such as the one in Karnataka which is home to around 40,000 Tibetans.
India's hosting of the exiled government is a long-running thorn in relations between the two neighbouring countries.
An editorial on Monday in Beijing's state-run Global Times newspaper said there was "speculation" that the decision on the journalists' visas was India's "revenge against China" over the nuclear group veto.
"If New Delhi is really taking revenge due to the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers' Group) membership issue, there will be serious consequences," it added.
The same editorial also said Beijing "should make a few Indians feel
Chinese visas are also not easy to get".