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India protests China’s issuing of separate visas to Indians from disputed northeastern state in 2023

India protests China’s issuing of separate visas to Indians from disputed northeastern state in 2023

India expressed its opposition on Thursday to China’s practice of issuing separate visas, which are stapled onto the passports of Indian citizens from the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of its own territory, referring to it as “South Tibet.”

As a recent example, three members of an Indian sports team, who were scheduled to participate in the World University Games in China, were denied regular visas stamped onto passports by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.

Arunachal Pradesh activists protest at Jantar Mantar against issue of ...

On Thursday, India raised concerns over China’s practice of issuing stapled visas to Indian citizens from the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The issuance of these stapled visas poses a problem for India as it implies an acceptance of China’s claim on the disputed territory.

The issue came to light when three members of an Indian sports team, set to participate in the World University Games in China, were granted visas stapled to a page in their passports, rather than regular stamped visas.

As of now, there has been no immediate comment from Beijing on the matter. However, China has previously asserted that the decision to issue stapled visas does not undermine its position regarding the disputed territory.

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India’s response to China’s practice of issuing stapled visas to Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh was firm and straightforward. Arindam Bagchi, the spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry, stated that the action was deemed unacceptable, and in response, India lodged a strong protest with China. During the protest, India reiterated its consistent position on the matter, which likely involves asserting its sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh.

Furthermore, Bagchi emphasized that India retains the right to respond appropriately to such actions from China, indicating that there may be consequences or countermeasures taken by India in response to the stapled visa issue.

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On Thursday night, the three players who were supposed to travel to Chengdu, China, were asked to put their travel plans on hold by the Indian government. This decision not only affected the players with stapled visas but also the entire Indian team, including those who received regular visas. The team was scheduled to participate in the World University Games and was organized by the Association of Indian Universities.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred. In 2011, the Chinese Embassy had also issued stapled visas to five karate players from Arunachal Pradesh who were planning to attend a championship in the Chinese city of Quanghou.

Additionally, in 2013, two young archers were prevented from participating in the Youth World Archery Championship by the Chinese authorities for the same reason – they were from Arunachal Pradesh.

‘Unacceptable’: India Condemns China’s Stapled Visas For Arunachal ...

These repeated occurrences of issuing stapled visas to individuals from Arunachal Pradesh indicate an ongoing tension between India and China over the disputed territory and further highlight the sensitivity of the issue.

On the ground, the “Line of Actual Control” (LAC) serves as the de facto boundary that separates the Chinese and Indian-held territories. This demarcation runs from the western region of Ladakh to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Notably, China claims the entirety of Arunachal Pradesh, which has been a major point of contention between the two nations. This dispute over the border has historical roots, and it led to a war between India and China in 1962.

In more recent times, tensions have persisted in the border areas, with soldiers from both countries patrolling along the disputed border. The close proximity of opposing forces has sometimes resulted in face-offs, with Indian and Chinese soldiers coming into contact. Both countries have accused each other of deploying troops into the other’s territory, adding to the complexities of the situation.

These ongoing border disputes and military standoffs reflect the complexities and challenges in the relationship between India and China, two major Asian powers with significant geopolitical influence. Resolving these territorial disputes remains an important issue for regional stability and international relations.

Indeed, in June 2020, a significant clash occurred in the Galwan Valley, which is part of the Karakoram mountains in the Ladakh region. The incident escalated tensions between India and China when soldiers from both sides engaged in a violent confrontation using improvised weapons such as stones, fists, and clubs. As a result of this clash, at least 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives, while four Chinese soldiers were killed.

Following this deadly incident, both India and China increased their military presence in the region. Tens of thousands of troops from each side were deployed, and they were supported by heavy weaponry, including artillery, tanks, and fighter jets, which further heightened the tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between the two countries.

The Galwan Valley clash was one of the most significant and deadly incidents in the border region in decades, and it brought international attention to the ongoing border dispute and military standoffs between India and China.

The situation has remained sensitive, and both countries continue to maintain a vigilant presence in the region. Efforts to deescalate tensions and find a resolution to the longstanding border issue remain ongoing but have proven challenging.



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