With Beijing continuing with its policy of issuing “stapled” visas to Indians residing in Kashmir despite the matter being taken up at the highest level by New Delhi, the government on Thursday said such visas were invalid.
Issuing an “important travel advisory on Chinese visas”, New Delhi made it clear once again that “such paper visas stapled to the passport are not considered valid for travel out of the country”.
The advisory stated that it had come to the attention of the government that the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in New Delhi and the Chinese Consulates in Mumbai and Kolkata were issuing visas on a separate piece of paper “stapled” to the passport (rather than “pasted” as is the practice), to certain categories of Indian nationals on the basis of their domicile, ethnicity and/or place of issue of the passport.
“All Indian citizens intending to travel to the People’s Republic of China are advised that before making any travel arrangements they should first ascertain from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate, as the case may be, whether the visa being issued to them will be affixed to the passport or will be in the nature of a stapled paper visa, so that they are not
inconvenienced or put to any financial loss later on this count,” the advisory said.
Significantly, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had taken up the matter with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi when the two had met in Bangalore on October 27.
“They said they made no discrimination. We are insisting that there should be a uniform visa norm for Indian nationals,” Krishna had said.
On October 1, Vishnu Prakash, MEA spokesperson, had said it was India’s considered view that there should be no discrimination against visa applicants of Indians on grounds of domicile or ethnicity.