New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) China today made it clear that itwill not issue visas to any official from Arunachal Pradesh,over which it lays claims, and will continue to issue stapledvisas to non-officials from that state.
Speaking against the backdrop of reports that twoArunachal men have got stapled visas which was departure frompast practice, an official in Chinese embassy, on thecondition of anonymity, said there was no change in their visapolicy for residents of Arunachal Pradesh.
"There is no change in our visa policy for residents ofArunachal Pradesh. China does not issue visas to officialsfrom that state and will still not do it. For non-officials,we only issue stapled visas," the official told PTI.
The incident of issuance of stapled visas to residents ofArunachal Pradesh came to light when two sportsmen from thatstate were prevented by immigration officials from boarding aflight yesterday from New Delhi to Beijing since they hadstapled visas given by Chinese Embassy on their passports.
Indian Weightlifting Federation''s Joint Secretary AbrahamK Techi along with a weightlifter of the state were takenaback when immigration officials at New Delhi''s IGI Airportstopped them and turned them away because of the stapled visasissued by the Chinese Embassy.
Reacting to the Chinese action, the Ministry of ExternalAffairs said India considers Arunachal Pradesh as an integralpart of India and has conveyed to the Chinese side that auniform process of issue of visas to Indian citizens befollowed regardless of applicant''s ethnicity or place ofdomicile.
Maintaining that both the athletes are reportedlydomiciles of Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry recalled that atravel advisory had been issued in November, 2009 cautioningIndian citizens that Chinese visas stapled to passports werenot valid for travel outside the country.
Needling India, China started issuing stapled visas topeople from Jammu and Kashmir from later part of 2008 in anattempt to project it as a disputed area.
In the case of residents of Arunachal Pradesh, visas werenever issued till now as China claims the whole of thenorth-eastern state as its own.
The contentious issue of stapled visas for residents of Jand K had figured during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao''s visit toNew Delhi last month.