India denies Uygur leader's visa request

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 July, 2009, 12:00am

New Delhi has denied a visa to exiled Uygur leader Rebiya Kadeer on Beijing's advice, a leading newspaper in Calcutta has reported.

Ms Kadeer, leader of the World Uygur Congress representing 47 groups, applied for a visa at the Indian consulate in Munich, where the congress is based, The Telegraph reported. Her visa application, filed before the July 5 violence in Urumqi, said she wanted to meet Indians sympathetic to her congress.

Beijing, apparently consulted by New Delhi, was 'worried that [Ms Kadeer] might meet the Dalai Lama in India', The Telegraph reported.

A senior Indian official told the daily: 'We have an understanding with the Chinese government that we will not allow Indian soil to be used for political activities against China.'

Some Indian analysts supported the government's stand. Others believed that New Delhi should build relationships with Uygurs Jayadeva Ranade, a diplomat turned commentator who has been posted to Beijing and Washington, said: 'I support India's decision as China has consistently called her the chief instigator in Xinjiang and gone to the extent of calling her the female Dalai Lama. So India has justifiably honoured Beijing's sentiments.'

Subhash Kapila, a foreign policy and strategic affairs consultant with New Delhi's South Asia Analysis Group, said India should have let in Ms Kadeer. 'Xinjiang is just north of India's Jammu and Kashmir province. Until 1951, India had a consulate in Kashgar which ... look after the interests of Indian traders in Xinjiang. India foolishly shut down its consulate in Kashgar because China promised to look after Indian interests.

'By denying Ms Kadeer a visa, India missed a golden opportunity to regain the trust of Uygurs.'