Indian government has refused to renew visas for three Chinese journalists working for China’s official Xinhua News Agency and they will have to leave the country by the end of this month.
The official declined to disclose the reasons for the refusal to renew the visas — This move has increased tensions between the two countries — but Xinhua could send replacements for the journalists.
The official said that the three had received several visa extensions and that one of them has been in India for the past seven years.
A report Sunday in The Hindu newspaper said the three traveled to the southern Indian city of Bangalore recently and met exiled Tibetan activists, which became an issue with India’s government.
Though the Tibetan government in exile is headquartered in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, thousands of Tibetans live in southern Karnataka state, whose capital is Bangalore.
Xinhua and China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment on Sunday. Non-renewal of visas is generally a step followed by various governments to expel foreign journalists.
The Indian government’s decision comes 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.