Tension between India and Pakistan have risen after the mutilation of two jawans and the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav, and now it has been revealed Centre has tightened medical visa rules for Pakistanis according to a report published by The Indian Express. Now, it will take a letter of recommendation from the Pakistan Prime Minister’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz to External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will enable patients from there to get the travel nod now.
The decision was taken by the Indian government following the unstated visa restrictions that were imposed after Pakistan gave capital punishment to Kulbhushan Jadhav for espionage and subversive activities in early April. However, the report mentioned that External affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay termed the reports of visa tightening ‘baseless’ but mentioned that only a recommendation letter by Aziz will be needed which will be cleared “immediately”. “We have suggested that their Foreign Minister or Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaz Aziz give a recommendation letter and it will be cleared immediately, without any delay,” he said, adding that a recommendation would ascertain that the requests received from Pakistan were “genuine”.
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This has been a big setback for patients there. Given that there is so much tension between the two countries, it won’t be easy for Pakistanis to get a letter from Aziz. “In such an atmosphere, when the two sides are having acrimonious exchanges, it is unlikely that Aziz will be writing recommendation letters to Swaraj,” a Pakistan government source told The Indian Express. The step is taken to ensure that all the requests received by the ministry are authentic. Baglay said that in previous years, thousands of medical visas have been issued to Pakistani citizens to come to India and benefit from health facilities here.