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India strongly rejects China's objection to Naidu's Arunachal Pradesh visit

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 13, 2021 17:31 IST
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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 is an "integral and inalienable" part of India.

IMAGE: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu addresses a special session of the Arunachal Pradesh assembly. Photograph: @VPSecretariat/Twitter

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.

Naidu visited Arunachal Pradesh on October 9 and addressed a special session of the state assembly during which he said the visible transformation of the northeast is a clear evidence of resurgence in the region's pace of development which remained neglected for decades.

"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.

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."

India says Arunachal Pradesh is its integral and inalienable part and Indian leaders visit the state from time to time, as they visit other parts of the country.

The India-China boundary dispute covers 3,488 km along the Line of Actual Control. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet.

Earlier in the day, beplying to a question from the official media about Naidu's visit to Arunachal Pradesh at a media briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China has never recognised the state.

"China's position on the boundary issue is consistent and clear. The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader's visit to the area concerned," Zhao said.

"We urge 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," he said.

"It should instead take real concrete actions to maintain peace and stability in the China-India border areas and help bring the bilateral relations back on to the track of sound and steady development," the spokesman added.

India has maintained that it was necessary to resolve the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh for progress in the bilateral relations.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman's remarks on Wednesday came days after India and China failed to make any headway in resolving the 17-month standoff in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.

The Indian Army on Monday said its "constructive suggestions" at the 13th round of military talks on Sunday were neither agreeable to the Chinese side nor Beijing could provide any "forward-looking" proposals.

The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 last year in eastern Ladakh following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the Gogra area last month.

In February, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in line with an agreement on disengagement.

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