India has declared "invalid" the stand-alone paper visas given by the Chinese embassy and consulates for Indians from Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, and issued a travel advisory asking those going to China to ensure their visas are pasted on their passports.
The external affairs ministry said in an "important travel advisory on Chinese visas that "such paper visas stapled to the passport are not considered valid for travel out of the country".
The recent practice of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi and its consulates in Mumbai and Kolkata has been to issue visas on a separate sheet of paper stapled to the passport, rather than pasted as is the usual practice, to residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.
New Delhi some weeks ago started this practice of issuing separate visas "to certain categories of Indian nationals on the basis of their domicile, ethnicity and/or place of issue of the passport" was an attempt by Beijing to contest India’s sovereignty over these states.
The disclosure about the Chinese practice of issuing separate visas has come amid strains in bilateral ties due to a host of issues, including China’s repeated claims on Arunachal Pradesh, the Dalai Lama’s visit to that state and Beijing’s stepped-up activities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
China has of late repeatedly laid its claims on Arunachal Pradesh and opposed the visits of Indian leaders to India’s northeastern state on grounds that it is part of what Beijing calls "south Tibet".
Times of India reports that Beijing has also opposed Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and voiced "strong dissatisfaction" with New Delhi for allowing the trip.
By issuing separate visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, a practice that came to notice only a few months ago, New Delhi suspects Beijing is bolstering claims of Pakistan over the Indian state.
Purely as a matter of interest, Thailand and many other countries have been staping visas into passports for many years.