Arunachal students meet PM over China issuing stapled visa

New Delhi, Feb 2 (ANI): Members of All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) met the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, here on Wednesday to discuss the matter of stapled visa being issued by China.

On this score, they observed that being Indians, it was illogical on the part of Beijing to resort to such measures.

"We told the Prime Minister about the issue of stapled visa. We are Indians, then why are we being given stapled visas. So, we met the Prime Minister regarding this issue and said if we (Arunachal Pradesh) are being given stapled visa, then the Chinese people should also be given stapled visa," AAPSU President Takam Tatung told reporters after the meeting.

Tatung further noted that they have also asked Prime Minister to seal the borders with China, Myanmar, and Bhutan, as the boundaries are vulnerable to external forces, who may seek refuge in Arunachal Pradesh and other areas of northeastern India.

He said that the Prime Minister had promised to make necessary changes in the foreign policy.

"Prime Minister said that the government would make the necessary changes in the foreign policy. But we said that after the 1962 war, the Indian Government has not looked after Arunachal Pradesh and not made a proper policy and that is why China has made a lobby for us," said Tatung.

"We have a common border with China, Myanmar and Bhutan, so we have also asked them to seal the border security. When they have sealed the small boundary border with Bangladesh, then why haven't they sealed the border that Arunachal Pradesh shares with the other three countries," he added.

Takam Tatung also mentioned that they had sought from the Prime Minster a formula for speedy and proper implementation of development projects in the remote and isolated regions of Arunachal Pradesh.

Earlier on January 13, India reacted strongly, saying that the issuing of stapled visas by China to athletes from Arunachal Pradesh is not acceptable.

"Issuing of stapled visa is not acceptable to the Government of India and we have already conveyed it to China," said Defence Minister A K Antony.

It may be mentioned 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.

Though Chinese Premier Wen 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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