Krishna to Tharoor: Let’s be on same page on visa issue


New Delhi : External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday advised his deputy Shashi Tharoor, who had aired dissenting views on the country’s new visa guidelines, saying “everyone will have to fall on the same page” once the policy is formulated.

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Krishna conveyed this pointed message when Tharoor came to his residence to offer an explanation for his controversial tweet that questioned the new visa guidelines.

The home ministry introduced new visa guidelines Nov 4 that envisage a mandatory two-month cooling off period between two visits by a foreigner coming on long-term Indian tourist visa to India.

“The broad policy parameters are dictated, decided by the Minister in-charge of External Affairs of this country and everyone will have to fall on the same page,” Krishna told reporters when asked if Tharoor and the external affairs ministry were on the same page over the visa issue.

Krishna added that although there could be different perceptions, there is also a method and procedure to “sort out” those issues and stressed he was sure that his deputy minister “understands” that.

“Whenever new policy comes in effect, there are bound to be repercussions. Broad policy has been decided and we will do what needs to be done in this regard,” Krishna added.

Krishna’s clarification came amid new information indicating that the government has decided to review the new visa guidelines and its implementation in six months.

New entry regulations were introduced in the wake of disclosures about the abuse of tourist visas by 26/11 suspect David Coleman Headley.

The new guidelines elicited protests from the US and British governments.

Earlier, Krishna had voiced his disapproval of the manner in which Tharoor voiced his opposition to new guidelines on the social networking site that fuelled speculation about divisions in the government over the new visa regulations.

“If there are any perceptions, they should be sorted out within the four walls of the two ministries.

In his tweets, Tharoor questioned whether the new visa restriction would actually strengthen security as the “26/11 killers had no visas”.

On Dec 26, Tharoor said: “Issue is not security vs (versus) tourism, but whether visa restrictions protect our security. 26/11 killers had no visas.”