India protests Chinese stapled visas; Beijing refuses to budge (Second Lead)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NEW DELHI - India Thursday strongly protested against Chinese stapled visas for residents of Arunachal Pradesh saying it was unacceptable. Beijing, however, refused to budge from its position.

“Stapled Chinese visas are unacceptable to India. It has been conveyed to China. We will not accept it,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony told reporters here.

On Tuesday, Indian weightlifter Sibi Yuktar and his coach Abraham Kaya from Arunachal Pradesh were stopped from leaving Delhi after immigration officials noticed that their Chinese visas were issued on a separate sheet of paper stapled to their passports.

There is no change in China’s visa for residents of Arunachal Pradesh. We only issue stapled visas for non-officials from that state, a source in the Chinese embassy, who declined to be named, said here. The source added that China does not even issue visas to officials from Arunachal Pradesh.

China has justified stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh as it claims the entire state as part of its territory.

In the last two years, China had resorted to issuing stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, implicitly questioning India’s position that the Himalayan state was its inalienable part.

In the middle of 2010, China had refused visa to an Indian Army general commanding a formation based in Udhampur, resulting in India snapping bilateral military exchanges with its neighbour.

India had, during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to New Delhi last month, raised the issue of stapled visas and asked Beijing to be sensitive to its concerns in this regard just as it respected China’s position on Tibet and Taiwan.

On China’s military modernisation, its recent testing of the J-20 stealth fighter jet and building infrastructure along the borders with India, Antony said: “We are also modernising our armed forces after careful assessment of emerging threats. Whatever is needed by the armed forces to protect our security we are providing it.”

“On the infrastructure front, we are moving ahead. Compared to the past, our security arrangement in the northern and eastern sectors are improving fast and our armed forces are fairly prepared now.”

On the reported transgressions by Chinese troops into Indian territory, the defence minister said it happened mainly due to the differing perceptions of the 4,057-km-long Line of Actual Control by either sides.

–Indo Asian News Service

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