NEW DELHI: British Prime Minister Theresa May said her government would consider further flexibility in issuing visas to Indians provided New Delhi stepped up efforts to return its overstaying immigrants. “It will depend on the speed and volume of the return of Indians with no right to remain in the UK,” she said.
May is on a two-day visit to India, her first non-EU destination post the Brexit vote. India raised its concerns over the UK’s stringent visa norms, including the hike in the threshold limit of the annual pay of foreign IT professionals to work. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also flagged India’s concerns over stringent visa norms which require students to return home after their courses end. The number of study visas issued to Indian nationals fell from 68,238 in 2010 to 11,864 this year. May, according to agencies, responded saying her country already has a “good system” for applications, indicating there could be no further relaxation in this category.
May asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot terror attacks to book even as India and Britain exchanged a list of people they wanted extradited from each country. In a strongly worded joint statement, both countries underlined the threat posed by “transnational” terrorism and reiterated “their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and the 2016 Pathankot attack to justice”.
While New Delhi’s list of 60-odd people included fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya and Choppergate middleman Chirstian Michel, London demanded the custody of 17 people under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Earlier, speaking to reporters on board the Royal Air Force Voyager, May said India and Pakistan should hold bilateral talks to settle the Kashmir issue. “This is not an issue for any other government to get involved,” she said. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had recently sparked a controversy by referring to Jammu & Kashmir as “Indian-administered Kashmir”. Without naming Pakistan or slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who was lionised by Islamabad after his killing by Indian security forces triggered an unrest in the Valley, India and the UK said that strong measures should be taken against those who “encourage, support and finance terrorism; provide sanctuary to terrorist and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues”.