India pulls out of games after China issues stapled visas for Arunachal athletes

India has called off the wushu (martial art) team’s scheduled visit to China after it issued stapled visas to three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh.

A 12-member team of Wushu players were to participate in World University Games which begin Friday in Chengdu but the trip was called off on Wednesday night as three players from Arunachal Pradesh in the group were given stapled visas, people familiar with the matter said.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India has lodged its “strong protest” with the Chinese side on the matter and there should be no discrimination based on domicile or ethnicity in the visa regime for Indian citizens.

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The decision to put on hold the team’s travel was taken after the government examined the matter.

“It has come to our notice that stapled visas were issued to some of our citizens representing the country in an international sporting event in China,” Bagchi said. “This is unacceptable and we have lodged our strong protest with the Chinese side reiterating our consistent position on the matter and India reserves the right to suitably respond to such actions,” he said.

Bagchi said this at a media briefing while responding to a question on the matter.

“Our long-standing and consistent position is that there should be no discrimination or differential treatment on the basis of domicile or ethnicity in the visa regime for Indian citizens holding valid Indian passports,” he said.

While other members of the team received normal visas, the players from Arunachal Pradesh were given stapled visas, the people cited above said.

In the past too, there were instances of China issuing stapled visas to Indians from Arunachal Pradesh that drew sharp reactions from New Delhi.
China has been laying claims over Arunachal Pradesh saying it is part of Southern Tibet.

In April, India outrightly rejected China’s renaming some places in Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the state is an integral part of India and assigning “invented” names does not alter this reality.

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