By Sumit Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Issuance of visa to people associated with Chinese think tanks will be scrutinised by the security establishments, the government has decided.
The decision was taken after some suspicious activities were noticed involving certain individuals linked with Chinese think tanks.
The security and intelligence agencies have been asked to do background check of people who get sponsorships from various Chinese think tanks and advocacy groups before the issuances of their visas.
Indian intelligence agencies have alerted the government that China has set up various think tanks as part of its extensive outreach programme. These have been set up with an objective to influence people in countries of strategic interest.
These think tanks could be used to identify and recruit people for espionage, said a senior officer with an intelligence agency.
Many organisations across the globe, backed by China, sponsor visas for policy makers, think tanks, political parties, upcoming leaders, corporates, academics and research entities, among others.
The agencies have prepared an elaborate list of groups and individuals who are under scanner. The government has shared the list with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The government has also asked the MEA to put in place a process of stringent check before issuing visas to individuals associated with China’s extensive outreach programme. The government had sent a letter in this regard to the MEA last month.
The letter stated: “In order to closely monitor the activities in India, visas sponsored by Entities of Concern shall require prior security clearance. MEA may therefore appropriately sensitise missions abroad regarding requirements of prior security clearance granting visa.”
The security clearance should be given only after thorough scrutiny of suspected people or entities.
The development comes after India recently banned several Chinese apps amid the military hostilities between the two nations.
The two countries are locked in more than three-month long standoff at multiple points in Eastern Ladakh, hitherto unprecedented along the border.
China had changed the status quo along the Line of Actual Control at various places, moving inside the Indian territories. India has objected to it and is taking up the matter with China at all levels.
The troop disengagement happened only at Patrolling Point-14 in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh, the site of the June 15 clash, and Patrolling Point-15 in Hot Springs.
On June 15, as many as 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent clash in the Galwan Valley.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at [email protected])