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China cautions its citizens against travelling to India

Beijing: In what is seen as a tit-for-tat move, China has cautioned its citizens against travelling to India following protests over the increase in petroleum prices, after New Delhi issued advisories warning its traders against doing business in the Chinese commodity hub of Yiwu.

An advisory has been posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website as well as Chinese Embassy in New Delhi dated June 1 which warned about travel disruptions due to protests.

"According to Indian media reports, many places in India are witnessing protests and strikes due to the recent hike in oil prices. Railways and highway transport have either come to a halt due to strikes or have been impacted to different degrees," the advisory said.

"Some shops have closed. Presently, impacted areas include: Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Patna in Bihar, Allahabad and Varanasi in UP, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha etc," it said.

"The Chinese Embassy in India would like to alert the Chinese citizens about this and request them to confirm their itinerary with related agencies to avoid delays. At the same time, during this period, they should be careful about personal safety and safeguard their personal belongings," it said.

The travel advisory came as a surprise to Indian officials here as it was very rare for China to put out such advisories against India in the past on Chinese Foreign Ministry`s website. It came ahead of tomorrow`s visit of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to take part on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit scheduled to be held here on May 6 and 7.

"It was rare to see such an advisory in the Chinese Foreign Ministry website," Indian officials said, wondering whether it was in a way connected to two advisories put out by the Indian Embassy here warning its traders in doing business with Yiwu, in view of three incidents of kidnappings of Indian traders by the local suppliers to settle trade disputes.

While one Indian trader Danish Qureshi was released and sent home two weeks ago, two others – Shyam Sunder Agrawal and Deepak Raheja – who was released from illegal custody of Chinese traders in January are stranded in Shanghai fighting their case in a Chinese court. Their issue is expected to figure during Krishna`s visit here.

Also state-run China Daily today carried a feature on Yiwu saying, "No one profits when business is bad" outlining the problems for Indian and businessmen from all the world who are based there doing business for long.

Yiwu is regarded as world`s biggest commodity hub where over 100 Indian businessmen still reside there despite advisories. Indian businessmen reported to have transacted about USD two billion last year, buying massive supplies of Chinese goods for Indian markets.

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