To stem China’s growing outreach network, India imposes curbs on visas and think tanks

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Tightening the screws on China’s growing outreach network, India has decided to slap curbs on Chinese think tanks and India-based groups affiliated with them. Ministry of External Affairs has now decided to stop granting visas to anyone sponsored by these think tanks operating out of China until they secure a security clearance post thorough scrutiny.

This move comes in the middle of the ongoing border tension between the two countries. Individuals associated with China-based think tanks, cultural and trade organizations, public policy groups and academics will come under the ambit of these curbs. A detailed list of all such organizations have been prepared by the Centre based on Intelligence inputs.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been asked to inform missions abroad that visas sponsored by some of the organizations under the lens of Intelligence agencies will only be issued after security clearance.

“In order to closely monitor activities in India, visas sponsored by entities of concern shall require a prior security clearance. MEA may therefore appropriately sensitise mission abroad regarding requirements of prior security clearance granting a visa,” communication in this regard reportedly states.

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The note also mentions that the Chinese have developed an outreach system comprising think tanks worldwide with the aim of influencing sections in different countries of strategic interest to Xi Jingping’s administration.

Sources say Beijing’s links with at least 54 Indian educational institutions including premiere centers of learning like IITs, BHU, JNU among others with links to official Chinese language training office or Hanban, which runs Confucius Institutes worldwide, are also being scrutinized. Barring courses in Mandarin language, tie-ups for running other language courses are likely to be discontinued.

Widely perceived as arms of Chinese state propaganda, Confucius Institutes have come under the scanner of Trump administration as well. Recently, US designated them as  foreign missions.

Stepping up the ante against China, India has put all Chinese investments in the country under scanner as well besides banning dozens of Chinese apps on grounds of national security.

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