(TibetanReview.net, Jul29’23) – Angered by China’s issuance of stapled visas to three Wushu competitors from Arunachal Pradesh for their participation in the World University Games, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has called on New Delhi to respond in kind by issuing stapled visas to anyone applying for an Indian visa from occupied Tibet.
India responded by cancelling the participation of its team of 12 Wushu competitors at the Games, which opened on Jul 28 in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.
India on Jul 27 called the Chinese action “unacceptable”, summoned the Chinese ambassador to India to “lodge a protest”, and reserved the right to “suitably respond” to it.
“Enough is enough. Instead of frustrating our sportsmen and every other Arunachali seeking a Chinese visa, we should simply start issuing stapled visas ourselves, to anyone applying for an Indian visa from Tibet,” Tharoor has tweeted.
“And say we will continue to do so until the disputed border between Tibet and India is settled,” the former minister of state for external affairs has said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the 31st FISU World University Games open on Friday evening (Jul 28) at Dong’an Lake Sports Park Stadium, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jul 28. Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the 31st FISU World University Games open on Friday evening at Dong’an Lake Sports Park Stadium from Jul 28 to Aug 8, the report said in a lengthy report on the event.
India has clarified that the issue of stapled visas will not impact the participation of Indian athletes in the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, reported the hindustantimes.com Jul 28.
* * *
A stapled visa is simply an unstamped piece of paper that is attached by a pin or staples to a page of the passport and can be torn off or detached at will. This is different from a regular visa that is affixed to the passport by the issuing authority and stamped.
This practice allows China to avoid placing official stamps on the passport.
China has been using this ‘stapled visa’ approach specifically for Indian nationals from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. They started issuing stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh in the mid-2000s and to those from Jammu and Kashmir from 2009, the report noted.
When a person with a stapled visa returns to their home country, the entry and exit passes on the stapled visa are torn off. This means that no details of the trip are recorded. It is also an expression of China that it does not acknowledge Arunachal Pradesh and J&K as part of India, the report added.
China disputes India’s unequivocal and internationally accepted sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh. It challenges the legal status of the McMahon Line, the boundary between Tibet and British India that was agreed at the Convention between Great Britain, China, and Tibet at the Shimla Convention of 1914. It is this disagreement that lies at the heart of Chinese claims over the position of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and its repeated transgressions into Indian territory, noted the indianexpress.com Jul 28.