The Indian government has asked three Chinese journalists working for Xinhua news agency to leave the country this month, refusing to extend their visas, an official said yesterday.
The official declined to disclose reasons for refusal to renew the visas, but said Xinhua could send replacements.
The official said the three journalists had received several visa extensions and one of them has been in India for the past seven years.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
A newspaper report said the three traveled to southern Indian city of Bangalore and met exiled Tibetan activists, which became an issue with the Indian government.
Though the Tibetan government in exile is headquartered in the northern town of Dharmsala, thousands of Tibetans live in southern Karnataka State, whose capital is Bangalore.
Xinhua and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment.
Indian media reports said that the three Chinese journalists were based in New Delhi and Mumbai.
Non-renewal of visas is generally a step followed by various governments to expel foreign journalists.
The Indian government’s decision came at a time when the two countries’ ties have been under strain following China’s refusal to support India’s application for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group at a meeting in Seoul last month.
They also share a disputed Himalayan border over which they fought a bloody month-long conflict in 1962.
Any border agreement resolving the dispute looks unlikely in the immediate future.
However, the two sides appear to be willing to avoid incidents, such as incursions into the disputed territory.
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