India has once again urged China to follow a consistent visa policy after it emerged that China issued stapled visas to two Indians domiciled in Arunachal Pradesh.

“We have seen media reports on [the] issuance of stapled visas to an athlete Sibi Yukar and his coach Abraham Kaya by the Chinese embassy in India. Both of them are reportedly domiciled in the State of Arunachal Pradesh, which is an integral part of India,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

“We have unequivocally conveyed to the Chinese side that a uniform practice of issuance of visas to Indian nationals must be followed, regardless of the applicant's ethnicity or place of domicile,” it said.

On November 12, 2009, the Ministry issued a travel advisory, cautioning Indian citizens that Chinese visas issued on separate papers stapled to passports would not be considered valid for travel out of the country.

Sibi Yukar and Abraham Kaya reached the international airport here on Wednesday night and presented their passports with the visas stapled to the immigration authorities, who denied them further entry.

China has issued stapled visas to residents of both Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, but there are instances when it has stamped visas on the passports of people domiciled in Jammu and Kashmir.

“This practice is certainly tied to China's position on Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. One could infer various conclusions, but as far as India is concerned, anything that questions the status of these two States won't be acceptable. These States are as important to us as the Tibet issue is to China,” said sources in the government.

India cancelled high-level defence exchanges with China after Beijing subjected a senior army officer to this policy. The defence exchanges are yet to be resumed.

During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's recent visit to India, New Delhi, for the first time, refrained from reiterating its “one China policy” under which the Autonomous Region of Tibet is an integral part of China.

At the same time, the sources said, the relationship with China was complex: it was India's largest trading partner in goods, and both countries were cooperating closely on major international issues such as reforms to the world financial system and climate change. “One has to take stock of the situation and state one's position clearly as in the case of stapled visas,” the sources said.