Hindustan Times reports
that India has expelled three Chinese journalists working with the
Chinese-owned Xinhua news agency following “concerns” flagged
by intelligence agencies. The journalists’ visas were revoked
and the individuals were banned from re-entry into India –
a move that can worsen relations between the two countries at a
time when tensions are at a fever pitch.
journalists must leave India by July 31. The three reporters who
were banned from India include Wu Qiang who heads Xinhua’s
bureau in New Delhi and Lu Tang who manages the Mumbai
headquarters. A third journalist, She Yonggang based out of
Mumbai was also evicted.
quoted Indian government sources who downplayed the severity of the
diplomatic row saying, "The three journalists had overstayed
their visa and subsequently they had received several visa
extensions. So we asked them to go back as it is no longer
possible to give them visa extensions."
New Delhi bureau chief says that "no explanation has been given
for the denial of visa renewal."
expelled journalists are experts on Indian and regional affairs.
In addition to serving as a reporter, Lu Tang was working
with researchers on India-China relations and the other two
were seasoned journalists with a long history of covering
to one Indian official who said, "We were giving them these
short extensions as they wanted to stay on till their
successor was there, but, since the successor was not here even
after months, we gave them a cutoff date."
analysts believe that the explanation that the journalists had
overstayed their visas, a common practice in the news industry,
is window dressing for the real reason for ousting the
journalists – a recent military skirmish between China and
India as well as Beijing’s growing ties with New
Delhi’s arch-rival Pakistan.
has adopted Pakistan as a key economic, political, and military
ally," explained regional commentator David Devadas. "Indeed,
Pakistan is now arguably China’s most trusted strategic ally."
Islamabad is also expected to serve a critical role in China’s
New Silk Road project.