India begins visas on arrival to Pakistan’s elderly
India on Tuesday began a process to issue visas on arrival to senior citizens from Pakistan, a customs official said, despite heightened tensions over recent deadly clashes in disputed Kashmir.
The landmark visa agreement was sealed last month, when the interior ministers from both countries met in New Delhi and decided to institute measures making cross-border travel easier.
The new agreement allows Pakistanis aged over 65 to arrive at the Attari/Wagah land border dividing the Punjab region and apply for a single-entry Indian visa for a duration of up to 45 days.
“The process to issue visas on arrival to Pakistani senior citizens has begun,” an Indian customs official on the border told AFP.
The official, who declined to give his name, refused to say if any Pakistanis had made use of the facility so far.
The measures to ease cross-border travel come in the wake of rising tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours, after India last week accused Pakistani troops of killing two of its troops, one of whom was beheaded.
Pakistan denies its troops were to blame for any such incident.
It says two of its own soldiers were killed by Indian firing in the last nine days along the Line of Control, the de facto border in Kashmir where a ceasefire has been in place since 2003.
The two countries have fought three wars since independence in 1947. They resumed talks two years ago, after New Delhi suspended negotiations following militant attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 that killed 166 people.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]