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Visas for Pak-born US nationals to be cleared by Delhi

November 12, 2009 11:33 IST

As an immediate fall-out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation foiling a Lashkar-e-Tayiba plot to use United States nationals to carry out major terror attacks in India, the Indian Embassy in Washington has tightened visa approval norms for Pakistan-born American citizens, whose applications would now have to be cleared by New Delhi.

An instruction in this regard has recently been issued by Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, according to which all applications for Indian visa, from Pakistani-born US nationals, would now be processed and cleared by New Delhi.

The measure has been taken in view of the busting of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba plot, in which the Pakistan-based terror group was planning to use Pak-born US national David Coleman Headley to launch terrorist attacks in India.

Because of the cordial relationship between India and the United States, American citizens never have had any problem in receiving the visa. Besides, the Indian Embassy in Washington, the Indian Consulates in New York, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco too issue Indian visas. All the Indian Missions in the US have been directed to adhere to the new instructions in this regard from New Delhi.

As the new visa regulations came into force, intense discussion have begun on forums and online blogs on what is being described in delays in issuing of Indian visas to Pak-born US nationals.

"I applied for a tourist visa for India in April earlier this year and received it within a week. I made a visit to India in September and applied for another visa upon my return on September 18, 2009," wrote one Noni Fayyaz, stating that she is a US citizen born in Pakistan, on a travel forum.

"I went through TRAVISA; it has been a month and I do not have the visa yet. I have called TRAVISA several times but all they tell me is that I should wait and that they have not heard anything. Their website shows the status as 'Documents received by consulate'," Fayyaz said.

Lalit K Jha In Washington