Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Taiwan acts tough on visas for 2 archers from Sikkim, India calls off its tour

India has called off a tour by its junior archers to Taiwan for an international tournament there after the Taiwan Trade and Cultural office here denied visa to two archers from Sikkim, demanding additional proof of nationality, apart from their Indian passports.”The tour has been called off. The Taiwan trade and cultural office did not believe the date and place of birth that was given in the Indian passport. They wanted added proof, in the form of domicile certificates. We did not agree because the passport is a document issued by the Indian government,” Paresh Nath Mukherjee, senior vice-president, Archery Association of India told The Indian Express.

“Either the full squad goes or none at all,” said AAI president and BJP MP V K Malhotra, when asked about the tour involving 32 junior and cadet team members for the Asian Grand Prix Second Round meet to be held in Chinese-Taipei, as Taiwan is officially referred to, from June 14 to 20. The team was to depart Wednesday night.

According to AAI officials, the Taiwanese wanted additional proof of nationality as the two archers, Sonam Pintso-Lepcha and Bikash Gurung, “look like ethnic Chinese or Tibetans”.

India does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and their trade office in Delhi’s Vasant Vihar has been the nodal agency for visas. China, which used to have Sikkim shown in its maps, dropped all claims and stopped reflecting it in its maps two years ago.

Despite a note from the Ministry, the Consulate demanded a “no objection” certificate from the parents, domicile certificates, an increased fee of Rs 1,750 for each form. Flustered by the demands, the AAI called off the tour.