Three Chinese journalists based in India representing the state-run Xinhua news agency have been denied permission for extended stay in India, news reports said. This move can possibly strain the Indo-China relations further.
The visas of the three journalists, Delhi-based Bureau Chief Wu Qiang and two reporters in Mumbai Tang Lu and Ma Qiang, are expiring at the end of this month. All the three had sought extension of their stay by a few months till their successors arrive. They have been asked to leave India by July 31.
However, the Chinese embassy sources told PTI that the Indian government has turned down the request without giving any reason. The Chinese embassy has taken up the matter with the External Affairs Ministry.
External affairs ministry contacted by the Hindustan Times on Saturday offered no immediate comment.
After China blocked India's entry into coveted Nuclear Suppliers Group last month, the relations between New Delhi and Beijing have been under strain. China has also been unhappy with India's growing closeness to the US.
According to the Hindustan Times, non-renewal of visas is a common practice followed by governments to expel foreign journalists whose writing is seen as critical of official policy.
Wu has been working in India for seven years while the other two were posted in Mumbai last year. Xinhua works directly under the jurisdiction of the State Council, or the Chinese Cabinet, headed by Premier Li Keqiang, HT reported.
A similar backlash from China is expected, experts said.
(With PTI Inputs)