India has lodged a strong protest with China for issuing stapled instead of proper stamped visas to Indian nationals from Arunachal Pradesh and termed it "unacceptable", adding that New Delhi reserves its right to suitably respond to such actions, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said this week.
"This has been something that we have discussed many years ago. Our longstanding 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," Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
There have been reports that China has issued stapled visas to people from Arunachal Pradesh, who were due to participate in an international sporting event in China.
"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. 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," Bagchi said.
According to reports, three members of India's Wushu team were not able to travel to China as they were issued a stapled visas since they are from Arunachal Pradesh.
Earlier in April, India outrightly rejected China's attempt to rename places of Arunachal Pradesh and Bagchi asserted that Arunachal Pradesh will always be an integral part of India.
The statement of came after China's Ministry of Civil Affairs announced the names of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, which it referred to as "Zangnan, the southern part of Tibet."
In response to media queries regarding China renaming some places in Arunachal Pradesh, Bagchi in a statement said: "We have seen such reports. This is not the first time China has made such an attempt. We reject this outright."
He further said: "Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Attempts to assign invented names will not alter this reality."
MEA's statement came after China released names of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh in Chinese characters, Tibetan and pinyin according to the rules on geographical names issued by the State Council, China's cabinet, ‘Global Times’ reported.