Stapled visas for Arunachal athletes unacceptable: India
After Beijing declined to grant standard visas to three Wushu players, India on Thursday raised a strong complaint and threatened to respond appropriately, calling China’s decision to reinstate the practice of “stapled visas” for Indian athletes from Arunachal Pradesh “unacceptable.”
What are Stapled Visas:
- A government may issue a type of visa known as a stapled visa to indicate a particular status or a difference of opinion regarding the territory the visa applicant is from. In this instance, China grants stapled visas to residents of some Indian states, particularly Arunachal Pradesh and earlier Jammu and Kashmir (including Ladakh), which it regards as disputed areas.
- Historical Context: Since China began providing stapled visas to inhabitants of specific Indian regions in 2011–2013, the issue of stapled visas has been a source of friction between India and China. This practice had previously strained relations between India and China, and its resurgence today raises doubts about their future course.
Where was the stapled visa issued recently?
- Indian Wushu Players Refused Regular Visas: In the most recent episode, China refused to grant three Indian Wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh regular visas. Instead, they received stapled visas, demonstrating China’s claim that Arunachal Pradesh is a disputed area and not a part of India.
- India’s Strong Protest: India strongly protested the granting of stapled visas to its athletes in response to China’s behaviour. The Indian government sees this action as intolerable and a violation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
How is it going to impact the bilateral relations between India and China?
- Impact on Bilateral Relations: The Chinese granting of stapled visas to Indian nationals has frequently caused a rift between the two nations. The most recent incident puts more strain on ties between China and India and raises questions about China’s position on the disputed areas.
- Meeting in secret between Modi and Xi: It was disclosed that in November 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Bali. However, the Indian government had not previously made public the specifics of their negotiations.
- Resolving Bilateral Issues: The Indian Ministry of External Affairs emphasized that settling disputes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is essential to resolving India’s bilateral disagreements with China. In the disputed areas, the LAC serves as India and China’s de facto border. It is believed that strengthening bilateral relations depends on bringing calm and harmony back to these regions.
What is the way forward in this tense situation?
- Diplomatic Engagement: To resolve the matter, India and China should hold fruitful negotiations. The two nations can begin a high-level dialogue to address issues, clarify stances, and come up with solutions that are agreeable to both parties.
- bidirectional mechanisms: To resolve border-related issues and avoid misconceptions, use already-existing bilateral institutions like the India-China Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs (WMCC). These procedures can be used to settle conflicts and keep lines of communication open.
- Confidence-Building Measures: To ease tensions and foster trust between the two nations, confidence-building measures should be put into place in the disputed border regions. Joint military drills, cultural exchanges, and interpersonal contacts are a few examples of such actions.
- Respect for Territorial Integrity: China should desist from utilizing “stapled visas” as a way to contest India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh to respect India’s territorial integrity. Further problems can be avoided by open communication between the parties regarding their respective perspectives.