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India China visa issues interrupt badminton series

Sitam Chaki

India China visa issues have hit the news again. On Friday, China dismissed allegations that they had denied a visa to the manager of the Indian badminton team. The incident, in question, came to light after reports that Bamang Tago was denied a visa on the grounds that he is a resident of Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing, which claims Arunachal as Southern Tibet, insisted that Tago himself cancelled his visa application.

Bamang Tago, the secretary of Arunachal Pradesh Badminton Association, had applied for a Chinese visa at its embassy in New Delhi. This was in order to travel to Fuzhou for the ongoing China Super Series Premier badminton tournament.

“What you said does not comply with the facts,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, while commenting on the Tago’s visa issue. “According to what we learnt, the person you have mentioned had previously gone to the Chinese embassy in India for visa application, but later he himself cancelled the visa application,” Geng claimed.

When asked whether Togo had been denied a visa because he hails from Arunachal Pradesh, Geng said, “The way China issues visa to relevant people is a flexible approach adopted by China to facilitate exchanges between two sides pending the final settlement of the boundary question.”

“It fully reflects China’s sincerity and flexibility. We hope that India will work together with China to maintain sound momentum of personnel exchanges and cooperation in different fields between the two sides,” he said.

In the past, China has declined visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh, since it considers the area to be part of China as Southern Tibet. Reports from New Delhi had been quoted as saying that Tago had approached Ministry of External Affairs after he was denied a visa by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi “on ground of Arunachal domiciles”. This was supposed to have taken place a day after applying for the travel document on 10 November.

Following this External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “This matter has been brought to our notice now. Government’s position on differential treatment of Indian passport holders is clear and well known. We have conveyed it to the Chinese side”.

“We expect them to address this issue in the spirit of reciprocity and smooth development of bilateral relations,” Swarup had finished.

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