New Delhi/Beijing: India on Wednesday strongly rejected China’s objection to a recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, asserting that the state was an “integral and inalienable” part of India.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to a state of India “does not stand to reason and understanding” of Indian people.
“We have noted the comments made today by the Chinese official spokesperson. We reject such comments. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India,” Bagchi said.
He was responding to a question on comments by a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry objecting to Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh over the weekend.
“Indian leaders routinely travel to the state of Arunachal Pradesh, as they do to any other state of India. Objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to a state of India does not stand to reason and understanding of Indian people,” Bagchi said.
At a media briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, in response to a question about Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, said China has never recognised the state.
“China’s position on the China-India boundary issue is consistent and clear-cut. The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side and firmly opposes the Indian leader’s visit to this above-mentioned area,” he said.
“China urges the Indian side to earnestly respect China’s major concerns, stop taking any action that would complicate and expand the boundary issue, and refrain from undermining mutual trust and bilateral relations. It should instead take real actions to maintain peace and stability in the China-India border area, and help to bring China-India relations back onto the track of sound and steady development,” Zhao said.
China has been objecting to visits of Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh, saying it is a part of South Tibet.
The fresh war of words between the two sides came three days after the 13th round of military talks on the 17-month eastern Ladakh standoff ended in a stalemate.
“Further, as we have mentioned earlier, the current situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas has been caused by unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo in violation of the bilateral agreements,” Bagchi said.
The government often refers to eastern Ladakh as Western Sector.
“Therefore, we expect the Chinese side to work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols rather than trying to link unrelated issues,” Bagchi said.
A day after the 13th round of military talks, Indian Army said the “constructive suggestions” made by it were neither agreeable to the Chinese side nor it could provide any “forward-looking” proposals.
On its part, the Chinese PLA’s Western Theatre Command said India insisted on “unreasonable and unrealistic demands, adding difficulties to the negotiations.”
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