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Yunnan delegation asks India for Kunming consulate

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Yunnan Governor Qin Guangrong (秦光荣) asked India to open a consulate in Kunming during a meeting with Indian Tourism Minister Ambika Soni in New Delhi last week, according to Indian media reports.

Direct flights between Kunming and Kolkata, capital of eastern India's West Bengal state, were launched in late 2007, but visa regulations and lack of a Kunming consulate make it difficult for Chinese living in southwestern China to visit India.

In order to obtain a visa, applicants must go to India's embassy in Beijing or its consulates in Shanghai and Hong Kong. For people living in Yunnan, it's often easier to skip the Kunming-Kolkata flight and fly to nearby Bangkok where there is an Indian embassy and more flight options to India.

While meeting with Qin and a delegation of Yunnan officials and entrepreneurs last Wednesday, Soni invited the visitors from Yunnan to invest in India's tourist infrastructure and called for closer cooperation between the two countries.

During the visit, the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the West Bengal Tourism Directorate, West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation and Travel Agents Association of India Eastern Chapter to "build a mutual bond on tourism practices, exchange and understanding."

Indian tourist visits to China are roughly quadruple the number of Chinese visits to India.

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