MEA proposes visa for B’deshis, MHA says no
The Narendra Modi government has for now decided to put the issue of granting visa-on-arrival facility to citizens of all SAARC countries on the backburner. According to well-placed sources, the ministry of home affairs has rejected a proposal moved by ministry of external affairs to grant visa-free entry to citizens of Bangladesh under the age of 18 and over the age of 65.
Millennium Post in its edition dated 22 June had reported that Modi government, in a major departure from its earlier stand, was planning to provide visa-on-arrival facilities to SAARC nations. The move was seen as a part of confidence-building measures to strengthen friendly ties with Pakistan and Bangladesh. The rejection of the proposal following the opinion sought by the MEA on the matter for including it on the agenda of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s upcoming visit to the neighbouring country between 25-27 June.
‘We have outrightly rejected the two proposals. We have already communicated to the MEA our strong objection to the proposals,’ a home ministry official said. The issue had generated strong reaction in Assam where CM Tarun Gogoi opposed the move and slammed the Modi government for toying with the idea.
Gogoi’s reaction came after the MEA sought the opinion of Assam government, among other stakeholders, on the two issues. Currently, Bangladeshis get multiple-entry visa for one year and the proposal is to extend the facility up to five years.