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India withdraws, to ‘suitably respond’ over China’s stapled visas for Arunachal athletes

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul28’23) – India has expressed outrage over China’s deliberately provocative action of issuing visas stapled to, rather than stamped in the passports of athletes from its state of Arunachal Pradesh selected to participate in the World University Games which was opening on Jul 28 in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province. The country withdrew its participation from the Games and vowed to “suitably respond” to China’s action.

While other members of the team received normal visas, the players from Arunachal Pradesh were given stapled visas, it has been learnt.

Calling China’s action unacceptable”, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said Jul 28 that India had lodged its “strong protest” with the Chinese side on the matter, adding there should be no discrimination on the basis of domicile or ethnicity in the visa regime for Indian citizens.

The visit of a 12-member team of Wushu players from India was called off on Jul 26 night as three players from Arunachal Pradesh in the group were given stapled visas, reported the PTI news agency Jul 27.

Speaking at a media briefing Bagchi has said, “It has come to our notice that stapled visas were issued to some of our citizens representing the country in an international sporting event in China, This is unacceptable and we have lodged our strong protest with the Chinese side reiterating our consistent position on the matter and India reserves the right to suitably respond to such actions.”

In the past too, China had, on several occasions, issued stapled visas to Indians from Arunachal Pradesh, drawing sharp reactions from New Delhi.

The basis for China’s action is its claim that the Arunachal Pradesh territory, which it calls Zangnan (southern Tibet), belongs to it on account of its sovereignty over Tibet which it annexed in 1951. India recognizes Tibet as part of China but has exercised sovereignty over the state on the basis of the McMahon Line. This Indo-Tibet borderline was drawn up among British ruled India, the nationalist Kuomintang ruled China and independent Tibet at a convention at Shimla, India, in 1914.

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