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Updated: May 18, 2013 02:20 IST

Let’s accept stapled visas: Arunachal leader

Special Correspondent
Comment (20)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

Reopen all ancient trade routes, former BJP MP urges Prime Minister

On the eve of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India, a former BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh has said that the Indian government should allow people from the State to visit China on ‘stapled visas’ without compromising its position on sovereignty over the border region.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kiren Rijiju has argued that allowing the State’s residents to travel to China on stapled visas — something New Delhi has been objecting to — would not only “downgrade the status of Arunachal Pradesh to a less confrontational one” but also help the people of the State participate in important international events in China.

Mr. Rijiju maintained that by issuing stapled visas to Arunachalis instead of its earlier policy of denying them visas altogether, the Chinese government has “softened” its position and has virtually conceded that Arunachal Pradesh is a “dispute.”

Mr. Rijiju has also suggested that all traditional and ancient trade routes along the McMahon Line and other points on the India-China border be re-opened as trading points rather than just using these places as only as meeting points for the militaries of the two countries.

“The political benefits would be that in the long run these de-facto border trading points will be converted into formal, de jure border points which can be permanently acceptable to both sides,” he wrote.

Hoping that the visit of the Chinese Premier — his first abroad since taking office in March — would be a landmark one, Mr. Rijiju said that if India fails to strike any concrete settlement with China, Arunachal will forever remain a disputed area to Beijing.

Since at least early 2011, China has been issuing stapled visas for Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh. Before that, officials say, China altogether refused to issue any visas, arguing that the State was part of China according to its territorial claims.

India’s stand on stapled visas prevented travel

In the past, foreign policy experts had voiced opinions similar to that of Mr. Rijiju, who has asked that India accept China’s stapled visas to Arunachalese. Analysts — even in Beijing — have seen stapled visas as somewhat of a dilution of China’s stand, as it implied that Beijing recognised that the State was indeed disputed.

China’s stapled visa policy has, however, prevented Arunachal residents from travelling to China, even as part of official delegations, with India taking the view that the Chinese side could not issue different kinds of visas to Indian citizens based on which State they were from.

In 2011, two sports officials who were issued stapled visas were stopped at immigration in New Delhi and were unable to attend a weightlifting tournament. Later that year, the issuing of stapled visas to a karate team from the State angered the Arunachal Pradesh government, when the delegation was unable to travel to China.

Last year, a high-profile visit by a 100-member youth delegation, under an initiative to promote youth exchanges championed by the then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, was shrouded in some controversy after a student from Arunachal Pradesh had to drop out at the last minute. The student had been issued a stapled visa by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.

This year, however, India decided to not include any representative from the State when a 100-member youth delegation travelled to Beijing earlier this month, officials said.

The delegation, which is currently on a nine-day tour of China, met with Premier Li in Beijing earlier this week.

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MP is belong to the state so he knows the situations closely but accepting staple visa is not in favor of Indian sovereignty. Indian sovereignty should not be keep aside, while considering border issues. China claims whole Arunachal as its own territory. Prime Minister should not kneel down in front of China in case, by accepting staple visa it will show weakness of our sovereignty in the eyes of other countries, moreover, we will give a chance to china to raise finger and it will strength the China's stance.

from:  GOVIND SHARMA
Posted on: May 19, 2013 at 21:19 IST

India in no case should allow an Arunachali on stapled visa to visit China. Arunachal Pradesh is integral part of India. why should we have different forein policy for Arunachal Pradesh? It is true that it is affecting a few of Arunachali. Sportsman and student should be specially given chance to participate in their respective sports and study tour to some different apropriate country. Government is developping road transportation its pace should be increased. Business opportunity can be searched in indian states and Myanmar, Bhutan and other countries. India should press The Premier for quick resolution of border issues with strong tone in the current visit and in the next our prime minister visit to China

from:  Abhay Kant
Posted on: May 19, 2013 at 12:42 IST

The BJP politician's statement has a deliberately misleading element.
He says China was not giving any visa to Arunachalis giving the
impression that China was denying entry. The fact is China was not
issuing any visa because it said they were citizens of China and could
travel to China without visa! As India refused to allow anyone to
travel from Arunachala Pradesh without proper visa from China, the
Chinese have been forced to climb down a bit and have started issuing
stapled visa. If India refuses this too, China will ultimately be left
with no option but to issue proper visas. People of Arunachal and
whole of India must stand firm in the interest of India's integrity
and not be misled by politicIans who may have personal interests
through increased business contact Above national interest.

from:  VICTOR
Posted on: May 19, 2013 at 07:42 IST

India must issue stapled visas to residents of Xinjiang province who visit India. China has illegally occupied Aksai Chin region that is shown as part of Xinjiang province.

from:  Shyam
Posted on: May 19, 2013 at 00:29 IST

We INDIANS have not been able to distinguish the differance of VISA from its method of ISSUANCE.INDIA like any other nation of LAWS stipulates that its nationals carry its PASSPORT as proof of IDENTITY&the VISA issued by the host country as recognition of both the visitors origin&the recognition&allowance of those visitors to their country as such.Where the rub is the stapling which can be removed by the host country &or the individual carrying passports which removes the evidence&INDIA objects correctly on that score.Stapling is an act has to be decided by THE COUNTRY that issued the PASSPORT&NOT VISA.CHINA cannot&SHOULD NOT dictate how INDIA wants indian passport holders carry their visa.

from:  bala srinivasan
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 18:32 IST

>The whole N-E is just like a hen which lays
> golden egg. Despite squeezing all the resources
> from the resources, the infrastructure development
>is pathetic. On the other hand, china has
> connected all the border regions with highways.

And who is responsible for that? The people from the NE themselves? The ministers from the NE themselves. The officials of the local offices.

from:  Rajbir Bhattacharjee
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 15:09 IST

After reading comments like:
> I wonder how many of those who commented
> here has visited Arunachal Pradesh.

and
> High time Arunachal is brought out
> of the shadows of 1962 debacle.

I can only say that I've been born and brought up in the NE, and have visited Arunchal multiple times. Most of the arguments in the minister's favour don't hold up. Arunachal is by far the state in the country with the highest per capita income. It is one of the least poopulated states, and the level of corruption in the state is unfathomable. The amount of money that flows into the coffers of the state government finds its ways into the pockets of ministers and officials. But since the population of the state is so low, even after such massive corruption, people there are relativelly well off compared to the rest of the country - yea, there are places which are cut off from the rest of the country and their only means of communication is the weekly flight, but even there they are not deprived.

from:  Rajbir Bhattacharjee
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 15:06 IST

On the other hand, accepting stapled visa by India would also be
perceived by the Chinese government as well as the world that India also
concedes that Arunachal Pradesh is a disputed area. This is not
ultimately what India wants and should want. It has to assert its
sovereignty strongly. There are other means of development in Arunachal
Pradesh, especially better trade relationships with the other states in
India especially the south.

from:  Padmakumar Rao
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 14:22 IST

These politicians are ready to do everything to maintain the spotlight
over them. Even they can give their own views on a disputed and sensible
matter like this one.

from:  Badal
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 14:05 IST

I wonder how many of those who commented here has visited Arunachal Pradesh. What he
has written is a clear indication of the frustration that a common Arunachalis has come across. Indian govt. is only interested for lip-service. They even don't have the courage to protect their citizen and have no courage to protest in a right manner. My point is (1) why should India issue a normal visa to Tibetan, (2) did the other participants not visited after knowing that his colleagues were issued only a stapled visa? (3) why the govt excluded Arunachalis later from the Indian squad?
The whole N-E is just like a hen which lays golden egg. Despite squeezing all the resources from the resources, the infrastructure development is pathetic. On the other hand, china has connected all the border regions with highways. They even have airport just 3/4 km away from the Arunachal border.

from:  Kakati
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 13:19 IST

We have to think at national level. We can't become selfish and think Statewise. Every one knows, what China has done in 1962. How can we trust them again; when they are continuously creating the boarder anxiety. It is not only happening with us, Japan and South Korea are also affected by their behaviour. India has to put up their points very strictly with China to conceder Arunachal Pradesh as integrated part of India.

from:  Ashutosh Dwivedi
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 12:41 IST

The puritans will come heavily on Mr Kiren Rijiju's comments. And they
will not be affected by the seclusion of the Arunachal from the main
stream. One has to visit Arunachal to understand the import of the
statement of Mr Kiren Rijiju. A caged in community that has the
potential of leaving so called main stream far behind in developmental
race is struggling today to identify itself. A gifted state with
startlingly high level of fitness, and intellectual wealth still is a
laggard and dependent on Delhi's dole outs. Whereas it has the
potential of generating GDPs equivalent to India if look North East
policy is effectually brought into force. And accepting of stapled
visas would be the first step towards flushing out the clog. High time
Arunachal is brought out of the shadows of 1962 debacle.

from:  Ajit Singh
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 12:37 IST

Mr.Rijiju is wrong.India should not accept stapled visas issued to Indians of ArunachalPradesh.We should also issue stapled visas to Tibetans visiting India on Chinese Passports.There should be no compromise.Arunachalis are also Indians first,and the treatment should be in tandom with Indians from other regions of India.

from:  K.Sugavanam
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 11:03 IST

I do not feel that we should ever accept stapled visas, unless we are
prepared to staple visas of Chinese from Tibet and Hong Kong. However,
what surprises me is the approach of the BJP MP in Arunachal Pradesh. Is
he not at odds with his own party's confrontationist approach to China?

from:  G Krishnamurthy
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 10:39 IST

Wisely said. Maximize the points of agreement. It would be in the interest of several countries in the
region to open up all the old trade routes for pilgrimage, tourism as well as trade. Footpaths and mule
tracks should be supplemented with wider roads, railway lines and air traffic. At the same time, remain vigilant to counter illicit trafficking.

from:  Jaspal Singh
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 09:44 IST

How about removing visa's altogether ? All Indians can travel to China
and all Chinese can travel to India !! So easy and no tension. May be
we can also hold Common General Elections across the continent.. May
be Pakistan and Bangladesh can also join.. It would be Wonderful if
such a thing happens...Reading inbtw the lines - either the MP is
become very Old or Naive. Arunachal Pradesh is part of India, China
is playing power games to convert all natural barriers with India as
its territory - so India will become defenseless and backyard for
Chinese - trade and military games. India should stand up and resolve
all these issues - without giving up on its rights.

from:  Murthy
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 09:25 IST

Let India issue a staple visa for Chinese nationals bordering Tibet and other disputed provinves of China, and see how China reacts. Indian officials should not go to China if our colleauges from Arunchala Pradesh are issued staple visa.

from:  Bala
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 09:03 IST

Acceptance of the Stapled VISA by Indian Government, would also be read by China as Indian's acceptance of Arunachal Pradesh as a disputed state rather than India'a own teritory.

from:  P.Johnson
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 06:23 IST

Stapled visas? What rubbish. It gives the impression that AP is just appended to India and not an integral part of India. Give an inch to China they will take a mile. Will they accept a stapled visa to Tibet. No. India should be firm.

from:  Chandra
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 05:14 IST

That seems very reasonable. I am glad that this has been brought to light in this way, because the impression that was given earlier in the press was that as if what was given to the Arunachalies was a regular visa--later downgraded to a stapled visa. So I thought that the Chinese were aggravating it. This report makes it clear that they are softening, in fact. However, I still don't know enough about this situation.

from:  Piyush
Posted on: May 18, 2013 at 03:54 IST
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