January 13, 2011 2:32:39 am
Within a month of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabaos assurance that Beijing will take note of New Delhis serious concerns on the issue of stapled visas,yet another case of stapled visa given by the Chinese embassy this time to two Indian nationals from Arunachal Pradesh came to light today.
This prompted the Ministry of External Affairs to react sharply that it has unequivocally conveyed to the Chinese side that a uniform practice on visas to Indian nationals must be followed,irrespective of the individuals ethnicity or domicile.
The incident took place on Tuesday as Immigration authorities at the IGI airport denied clearance to Indian weightlifter from Arunachal Pradesh,recruit havaldar Yukar Sibi,and Abraham Techi,president,Arunachal Weightlifting Federation.
They were en route to participate in Chinese IWF Weightlifting Grand Prix,slated to take place at the Majiang Weightlifting Training Center,Fuzhou City,between January 15 and 17. The Chinese authorities had issued stapled visas to the duo on January 4.
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MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash said: We have seen the reports on issuance of stapled visas to an athlete and his coach by the Chinese embassy to India. Both of them,reportedly are domiciled in the state of Arunachal Pradesh,which is an integral part of India…The Ministry had also issued a travel advisory on November 12,2009 cautioning Indian citizens that Chinese paper visas,stapled to the passport,were not considered valid for travel out of the country.
Speaking to The Indian Express,Abraham Techi said: We applied for a visa on January 2 and the Chinese issued stapled visas to us on January 4 which authorities at the airport rejected saying it was not a valid document. Today I went to the Chinese embassy asking them why their officials rejected the visa their own authorities had issued but the embassy officials said that the stapled visa was the right document and we will have to travel on the same if we had to.
China started issuing stapled visas to people from Jammu and Kashmir two years ago. India sees this as an act amounting to questioning the states integration with the rest of the country.
Last year,Beijings refusal to grant a proper visa to a Lieutenant General in the Indian Army commanding troops in J&K was reciprocated by New Delhi stalling defence exchanges with China.
In 2007,China denied visa to IAS officer Ganesh Koyu who hailed from Arunachal Pradesh and was a member of a 107-strong IAS officers team on a management programme to China. This had resulted in the government cancelling the trip for the entire batch.
Sibi,18,a resident of Tali area in Arunachal,training at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune since 2005,won the Gold in the 62 kg category in Commonwealth Junior Weightlifting Championship in Penang,Malaysia and a silver at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune in 2008. He is the only Indian weightlifter to have been invited by the Chinese Weightlifting Federation for the Grand Prix. They had sponsored the flights and the entire stay of the duo. We fail to understand why they did not clear the immigration check, said captain Srinivas Rao,coach,ASI.
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