What are ‘stapled visas’ that China issued to Indian players from Arunachal Pradesh?
Instead of stamping directly in the passport, a separate piece of paper attached (stapled) to the visa making it a ‘stapled visa’.
India reacted strongly to China issuing stapled visas to some players from Arunachal Pradesh by withdrawing its wushu (Martial Arts) contingent from the Summer World University Games in Chengdu, which were set to begin on Friday. Three women players, Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu, who were part of the national wushu team, received these stapled visas.
The ministry of external affairs expressed its disapproval of China's actions, calling them “unacceptable” and summoned the Chinese ambassador to India to “lodge a protest”. The Indian government has clarified that this issue of stapled visas will not impact the participation of Indian athletes in the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
This is not the first time such ‘stapled visas’ have been issued to Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh. In the past, athletes from the region were denied visas for international events, including the 2011 Asian Karate Championships and the 2011 Youth World Archery Championship.
What are stapled visas?
A ‘stapled visa’ is different from a regular visa that a country gives to foreign citizens. Instead of stamping directly in the passport, it is a separate piece of paper attached (stapled) to the visa. This practice allows China to avoid placing official stamps on the passport.
China has been using this ‘stapled visa’ approach specifically for Indian nationals from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. They started issuing stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh in the mid-2000s and to those from Jammu and Kashmir from 2009.
Why is it a matter of concern?
When a person with a stapled visa returns to their home country, the entry and exit passes on the stapled visa are torn off. This means that no details of the trip are recorded. It is also an expression of China that it does not acknowledge Arunachal Pradesh and J&K as part of India.
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