Kashmir Disputed: Chinese Embassy

13 November 2009
Greater Kashmir
Sheikh Ahmad

New Delhi: China today justified its action of issuing stapled visa to the residents of Jammu and Kashmiri, stating it considers “Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory”. “Jammu and Kashmir is a dispute between India and Pakistan and it needs to be resolved by the two countries through peaceful means”, Zou Yonghong, Press Secretary of Chinese embassy told Greater Kashmir on the sidelines of a function at the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) here. Reacting to the travel advisory by the Government of India Thursday on stapled visas being issued by the Chinese embassy to the residents of J&K and Arunachal Pradesh, Zou said: “this is not a new procedure. It is in place for several years.” Through a travel advisory issued Thursday the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India said the stapled visas would be treated as invalid for visit to China. The Press Secretary said that China is ready to discuss the visa issue with the Indian government so that this controversy is ended as soon as possible. Asked how many stapled visas were issued by the Chinese mission in Delhi and its consulates in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai, she said it was not a big number. She described as a mere “exaggeration” that over 40,000 such visas were issued by the Chinese embassy in Delhi. Zou said the practice of issuing visa on separate sheet of paper is not something new. It is being used by many countries. Infact the Israeli government earlier used this practice for nationals of various countries. The Indian government had taken up the issue with the Chinese embassy on several occasions in the past two months. The embassy was asked to discard this system and issue visa on the passport so that students, businessmen and professionals from Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh do not suffer on account of this new policy. The Indian government advisory asked its nationals to ascertain from the Chinese missions or consulates whether the visa being issued to them would be affixed to the passport or it would be stapled paper visas. The Chinese missions and consulates used to stamp visa on the passport for all Indian citizens, except for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.