India has denied a visa extension to the last Chinese journalist stationed in the country, The Hindu reported on Tuesday.
The reporter, from China’s state news service Xinhua, left New Delhi last week.
This is the first time since the 1980s that no Chinese journalist is stationed in India. There is only one Indian reporter in Beijing.
Both India and China have been denying visa extensions to each other’s journalists amid heightened geopolitical tensions in recent months.
In April, China had barred state-run Prasar Bharati’s reporter Anshuman Mishra and The Hindu correspondent Ananth Krishnan from returning to the country. Both of them were based in Beijing but were in India when their visas had been “frozen”.
In June, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning alleged that the action was taken as Chinese reporters had been subjected to “unfair and discriminatory treatment” in India “for a long time”.
She had alleged that New Delhi had refused to review and approve Chinese journalists’ applications for stationing in India since 2020. This, according to her, had plummeted the number of Chinese journalists in India from 14 to just one.
In response, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said that New Delhi allows all foreign journalists to operate in India without any difficulties.
“Meanwhile, Indian journalists in China have been operating with certain difficulties, such as not being permitted to hire locals as correspondents or as journalists,” he had said.
Ties between India and China have been strained since the militaries of the two countries clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash, while China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.
Tensions between the two countries escalated once again on December 9, after Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. New Delhi said that the clash took place after Chinese soldiers attempted to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control.