India withdraws Arunachal athletes from China games over stapled visas

For a long time, China has been issuing stapled visa to people from Arunachal Pradesh, which it lays claim on

NEW DELHI | Updated: 28 July, 2023 11:59 am IST
Arindam Bagchi has condemned china's move to issue stapled visas for athletes from Arunachal Pradesh

NEW DELHI: In a strong protest against China’s policy of issuing stapled visas, India has withdrawn its entire wushu (martial art) team’s participation in the World University Games which commences in Chengdu on Friday.

The 12-member Wushu team comprising five athletes, a coach and two support staff, at the boarding gate of the Delhi airport minutes before departure on Thursday midnight, as per reports.

Hours before the withdrawal, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) condemned Beijing’s decision to issue stapled visas to three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh, a northeastern state which China lays claims on, as “unacceptable”.

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China calls Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet and often objects to the visits of senior Union ministers to the state.C

“India reserves the right to suitably respond to such actions. Our long-standing and consistent position is that there should be no discrimination or differential treatment based on domicile or ethnicity in the visa regime for Indian citizens holding valid India passports,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told media persons.

He informed that the government had lodged “strong protest” with the Chinese side, reiterating India’s consistent position on the matter.

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Media reports quoted an unnamed official from the Wushu Federation of India to confirm that the government opted for a collective response to China’s actions, affecting all Indian wushu players.

For a long time, China has been issuing stamped visas to people of Arunachal Pradesh citing it as a disputed territory.

Officials said that the athletes applied for visas on July 16. While the applications of other team members were processed in time, applications of Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu were not accepted. They were asked to submit their applications again on Tuesday and the Chinese embassy returned their passports with stapled visas on Wednesday afternoon.

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