New Delhi, August 16: In a goodwill gesture on India’s Independence Day, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that India will issue medical visas to Pakistani patients whose requests are pending with the Indian government.
In a statement issued in New Delhi Swaraj said that the decision to grant medical visas was being done on the “auspicious” occasion of India’s independence Day.
India had introduced a condition that medical visas would be issued to Pakistani patients on the recommendation of Sartaj Aziz (former adviser to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif) who has now been named as the deputy chairman of the planning commission by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Sushma had said that “those seeking medical visa for their treatment in India”, adding that she saw no reason for Sartaj Aziz to “hesitate to give his recommendation for nationals of his own country.”
A number of Pakistanis travel to India for medical treatment; several hospitals have reported receiving as many as 500 patients a month, the NDTV reported. However, the medical visa process has slowed down after a military court sentenced Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav to death for espionage.
(The featured picture at the top shows India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj)