India withdraws from World University Games in China over stapled visas to Arunachal athletes

Three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh were issued stapled visas by China

stapled visas issued to arunachal athletes Representational image | Shutterstock

Taking a stand against China's stapled visas issued to three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh, India has withdrawn its whole wushu team from the World University Games in Chengdu.

Instead of stamped visas, stapled ones were issued by China to the athletes--Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu-- who were gearing to participate in the Games starting on Saturday.

All the others in the nine-member contingent comprising five athletes received their visas on July 20, while the three players were asked to re-apply on July 24. It was after that they were issued 'stapled visas' on Wednesday.

Reportedly, the airport authorities in New Delhi stopped an contingent comprising five athletes, a coach and two support staff at the boarding gate before departure on Thursday night.

Coach Raghvendra Singh told The Indian Express that they were stopped at the gate by immigration officials and CISF personnel.

Meanwhile, India on Thursday described that China's stapled visa issuance was "unacceptable".

India has lodged its “strong protest” with China on the issue, said External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. He also added that there should be no discrimination on the basis of domicile or ethnicity in the visa regime for Indian citizens.

It was after the government intervention the decision to not take part in the Games was taken.

"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," Bagchi said during a press conference.

"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," he said.

This is not the first time China had issued stapled visas to athletes from Arunachal. There were instances in the past too which was raised by India as well.

Wushu competitions in the World University Games will be held from July 29 to August 3.

This turn of events has also raised concerns for Arunachal athletes to take part in the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou in China. The Asian Games will be held from September 23 to October 8. Sportpersons from Arunachal is set to take part in karate, skateboarding and taekwondo competitions. 

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