NEW DELHI, Aug 16 (IANS): On the occasion of Independence Day, the Ministry of External Affairs announced that India will provide medical visas to all bona fide Pakistan patients.
In a tweet on Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said: " On the auspicious occasion of India's Independence day, we will grant medical visa in all bonafide cases pending with us."
As ties between the two countries soured over various issues, the ministry had announced in May that only a letter of recommendation by Pakistan Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz will enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India.
The action was termed "highly regrettable" by Islamabad, who said that asking for a letter from the Foreign Affairs Adviser was "against diplomatic norms" and that "such a requirement has not been prescribed for any other country".
However, on July 18, a patient from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, seeking treatment in New Delhi for a liver tumour, was granted a visa. Swaraj said that he needed no recommendation from the Pakistan government for a medical visa because the territory is "an integral part of India".