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Kumar Gaurav Sonkar asked: Why China is issuing "staple visa" to the citizens of Arunachal Pradesh as well as of Kashmir?

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  • Prashant Kr Singh replies: Recently, China has appeared to be revising its three-decade old policy of formal neutrality on the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. In 1960s and 70s, China had supported Kashmir’s so-called right to self-determination and armed-rebellion against India. It had even supported Pakistan in its war against India in 1965 and 1971, though this support never crossed verbal limits. However in 1980s, it changed its policy due to combination of factors. It declared that the Kashmir issue was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and that they should settle it through peaceful diplomatic methods. Since then, China had followed this policy of formal neutrality on the Kashmir issue, though it continued to intensify its military (including nuclear) cooperation with Pakistan during this period. But now it seems that China wants to revise its policy on Kashmir. In the last few years, China has started issuing loose leaf stapled visas instead of properly stamped ones to the Indian citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.(J&K) Last year, it had denied visa to a General from the Indian Army who was commanding in that region. This implies that China does not recognise India’s sovereignty over J&K. However, China has not made any formal statement to this effect. It has simply conveyed that giving properly stamped visas to the Indian citizens of J&K would amount to Chinese recognition to India's authority on Laddakh which China claims as its own. But China is very subtly asserting disputed status of Kashmir by such actions. It has been observed that in international politics, when a state does not recognize another state’s authority over some territory, it does not issue a proper visa to the residents of that territory. By giving stapled visa to those residents, it registers its protest over the existing status of their citizenship. China has followed the same practice in case of Indian citizens of Arunachal Pradesh which it considers part of its territory.
    Posted on April 07, 2011