China provokes India again, issues stapled visa to Arunachal sportsmen

Itanagar, Jan 12: Despite strong protest by India against stapled visas issued to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, China has expanded its stapled visa regime to Arunachal Pradesh.

It has issued stapled visas to two Arunchalees.

Indian Weightlifting Federation's (IWF) joint secretary Abraham K. Techi along with a noted Arunchalee weightlifter were to leave for Beijing today at the invitation of Chinese Weightlifting Association president Menguang on behalf of China Weightlifting Grand Prix to be held at Fujian Province during January 15 to 17.

The duo were shocked at Indira Gandhi International Airport this morning when officials prevented them from boarding the flight because of the stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.

"We applied for the visa on the invitation of Chinese Weightlifting Association for China Weightlifting Grand Prix, which is to be held at Fujan. But they gave us stapled visas, which was rejected by immigration department officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport," Techi told Asian News International (ANI) over phone.

Techi, who contacted the Chinese embassy during the day, said the official informed that 'right visa had been issued to the Arunchalees'.

"This is an insult and unnecessary harassment to Arunchalees. We will take up the issue at the national level. I also request the Government of India to take up this issue along with the Chinese," he added.

It may be mentioned here that Vishal Nabam, now advisor to state Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, had visited China on a month-long tourist visa in 2006. This clearly indicates that China has expanded its staple visa regime to Arunachal Pradesh.

Commenting on the issue, Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh, Takam Sanjoy said: "China's repeated claims over Arunachal Pradesh territory and the issue of stapled visas to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir are contentious issues obstructing improved ties."

Sanjoy further said though India, particularly Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, had taken very bold steps during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in December last year to strengthen the bilateral ties, Beijing has proved beyond doubt that their policy is to consolidate their claim over Arunachal territory.

The Congress MP, now on a whirlwind tour of his Western parliamentary constituency, particularly the border areas along China, said this new move by Beijing is not at all surprising.

Registering strong protest against such an insulting move against the people of Arunachal Pradesh, Sanjoy said he would take up the issue with the Prime Minister as well as Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Though Chinese Premier Jiabao and Dr. Singh had discussed the complex relations between the two Asian giants at a time when both are 'celebrating 60 years of diplomatic ties', the stapled visa issue did not figure in the official talks.

Chinese territorial claims over Arunachal Pradesh-a key component of the longstanding boundary dispute with India-had come in the way of bilateral interactions, in 2007 with China denying visa to senior IAS officer Ganesh Koyu, who 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 because of Beijing's refusal to grant visa to Koyu hailing from Arunachal Pradesh. The official trip was canceled at the intervention of Prime Minister. (ANI)

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