The Speaker of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Pasang Dorjee Sona, presenting an artwork depicting the Vice President in Memba traditional attire to Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu during his visit to the State Assembly on October 9. (Image source : Twitter @VPSecretariat)
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on October 13 rejected China’s opposition to Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
The Ministry said in a statement that objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to an Indian state did 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. Indian leaders routinely travel to the state as they do to any other state of India," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement in response to a media query about the Chinese MFA spokesperson's remark on Naidu’s visit.
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“Objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to an Indian state does not stand to reason and understanding of Indian people,” Bagchi said
China had earlier in the day objected to the recent visit of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to Arunachal Pradesh, saying that it is firmly opposed to the Indian leader's visit to the state as it has never recognised it.
Naidu visited Arunachal Pradesh on October 9 and addressed a special session of the state assembly. During his visit, the vice president said the visible transformation of the northeast is clear evidence of a resurgence in the region's pace of development which remained neglected for decades.
Replying to a question from the official media about Naidu's visit to Arunachal Pradesh at a media briefing here, 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.
China routinely objects to Indian leaders' visits to Arunachal Pradesh to buttress its stand. 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 (LAC). China claims Arunachal Pradesh is part of South Tibet.
China’s remark come days after the latest round of military talks between the two countrues ended in a stalemate. The talks, against the backdrop of two recent incidents of attempted transgressions by the Chinese troops in the Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand and Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh, were held at the Chushul-Moldo border on October 10.
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.
Bagchi also rejected China’s contention that the visit would “complicate” boundary issues, amid ongoing tensions in Ladakh.
“As we have mentioned earlier the current situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas has been caused by unilateral attempts of Chinese side to alter the status quo in violation of the 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.”(With PTI inputs)