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Vice-President’s Arunachal Visit: China Objects, India Dismisses

New Delhi: The simmering tension between India and China flared up once again, this time over Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

Reacting to China’s reservations on Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India on Wednesday strongly rejected the former’s objection.

Naidu travelled to Arunachal Pradesh for two days during last weekend, as part of a tour of the north-east, and addressed a special session of the state assembly in Itanagar on Saturday. Responding to a question on the visit from state-run media,

A spokesperson of Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing doesn’t recognise Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to Indian leaders visiting the region.

“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 Lijian told Xinjiang Television.

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

Within hours, Indian External Affairs ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India.

“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.

“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 made the Indian stand clear in no uncertain terms.

The no-nonsense exchange highlighted tensions which have prevailed between the two countries for a year and a half over the standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Both sides have held talks to try and de-escalate tension across the Line of Actual Control, but have ended up blaming each other for the presence of troops on either side of the border in Ladakh.

Bagchi went on to reiterate that the Indian government believes the current situation has been caused by China’s unilateral attempts to alter status quo, violating bilateral agreements.

“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,” was Bagchi’s message for China.

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