Now, China issues staple visas to Arunachal men

In a departure from past practice, China has begun issuing visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh, over which it lays claim, but they are stapled to passports as in the case of people from Jammu and Kashmir.

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2011, 09:21 AM IST

Itanagar: In a departure from past
practice, China has begun issuing visas to residents of
Arunachal Pradesh, over which it lays claim, but they are
stapled to passports as in the case of people from Jammu and
Kashmir.

China`s new tactics came to light when two sportsmen
from Arunachal Pradesh were prevented by immigration officials
from boarding a flight today from New Delhi to Beijing since
they had stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy on their
passports.
Indian Weightlifting Federation`s Joint Secretary
Abraham K Techi along with a weightlifter of the state were
taken aback when immigration officials at New Delhi`s IGI
Airport stopped them and turned the two men away because of
the stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy.

Techi and the weightlifter, who were to visit the
country at the invitation of Chinese Weightlifting Association
president Menguang for the January 15-17 China Weightlifting
Grand Prix at Fujian province, thereafter got in touch with
the Chinese Embassy.

Reacting to the Chinese action, the Ministry of
External Affairs said India considers Arunachal Pradesh as an
integral part of India and has conveyed to the Chinese side
that a uniform process of issue of visas to Indian citizens be
followed regardless of applicant`s ethnicity or place of
domicile.

Maintaining that both the athletes are reportedly
domiciles of Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry recalled that a
travel advisory had been issued in November rpt November, 2009
cautioning Indian citizens that Chinese visas stapled to
passports were not valid for travel outside the country.

Needling India, China started issuing stapled visas
to people from J and K from later part of 2008 in an attempt
to project it as a disputed area. In the case of residents of
Arunachal Pradesh, visas were never issued till now as China
claims the whole of the north-eastern state as its own.

The contentious issue of stapled visas for residents
of J and K had figured during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao`s
visit to New Delhi last month. Wen had said that China takes
India`s concerns on the issue seriously.

Techi told PTI the Chinese officials at the Embassy
informed him that the `right` visas have been issued to them.
"This is an insult and unnecessary harassment to
Arunachalees," Techi said.

Reacting to the incident, Congress Lok Sabha member
Takam Sanjoy said though Sino-India relations have been
improving with New Delhi and Beijing taking positive steps,
the border issue, China`s repeated claims over Arunachal
Pradesh territory and stapled visas to residents of J and K
were contentious issues which were hindrances.

Sanjoy said though India, particularly Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, took very bold steps during Wen`s
visit to further strengthen bilateral ties, the Chinese
government had proved its policy to consolidate its claim on
Arunachal territory.

China started the practice of issuing stapled visas
to people from Jammu and Kashmir two years back. India sees
this as an act amounting to questioning the state`s
integration with rest of the country.

In 2007, China had denied visa to senior IAS
officer Ganesh Koyu who hailed from Arunachal Pradesh and was
a member of 107 strong IAS officers` team on a management
programme to China.

A study visit to Beijing and Shanghai, part of a
programme to learn more about Chinese economic growth and
policies, was cancelled at the intervention of the Prime
Minister because of Beijing`s refusal to grant visa to Koyu.

Earlier, Vishal Nabam, now advisor to Chief
Minister Dorjee Khandu, had visited China on a month-long
tourist visa in 2006.

PTI