More than a year after National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and State Councillor / vice foreign minister Dai Bingguo met in Beijing to smoothen ruffled ties across the lofty Himalaya’s, the two will meet again this November to iron out contentious issues between the two neighbors. While both diplomats have a deep, well grounded understanding of each others nations, ambitions, cultures and political stances, the two countries remain stuck at stapled visas.
Kicking up a row once again, New Delhi has objected to China’s issuance of stapled visa’s to a team of karatekas from Arunachal Pradesh who were to represent India at the 11th Asian Karate-do Championship (junior and cadet) at Quanghou City in Fujjian province, China from July 20th to 25th. The meeting between Shivshankar Menon and Dai Bingguo, scheduled as the 15th round of boundary talks will also include a gamut of strategic and regional issues, including the proposed India-US-Japan forum which Beijing sees as a move to contain its rise in Asia.
India-China relations have remained sweet and sour primarily due to the contentious border issue between the two countries. China which claims that Arunachal Pradesh, a North-East Indian state is part of Southern Tibet, has in the past too issued stapled visa’s to Indian citizen’s wishing to visit China. Citizen’s of Jammu and Kashmir the Northern most Indian state have in the past also been issued stapled visa’s to tours in China. Having raised the issue with China before, over the last few months Beijing has been issuing regular visa’s to citizen’s from these states, however with the re-issuance of stapled visa’s to the karatekas, Beijing seems to have rescinded their policy.
Chinese official sources said on Thursday the policy of issuing stapled visas to “all disputed regions” remained consistent and unchanged. They rejected earlier media reports claiming that the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi had agreed to issue regular visas to the Arunachal team, which had been invited to attend a Karate tournament in Quanzhou, in southern Fujian province.
Indian officials perceived the move as a worrying step away from China’s declared position of neutrality over the Kashmir issue — China does not issue stapled visas for residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).