New Delhi: Beijing said it “firmly opposed” Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh last weekend. It asked New Delhi to “stop taking actions that would complicate and expand the boundary issue”.
Within hours, the Ministry of External Affairs rejected Beijing’s statement, saying Arunachal Pradesh is an “integral and inalienable part” of India and objection to visits of Indian leaders to a state of India “does not stand to reason”.
Beijing’s objection to Indian leaders visiting Arunachal Pradesh is not unusual. It has objected to visits in the past by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in 2019.
China claims up to 90,000 sq km in Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector, while India sees China as illegally occupying 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin in the western sector.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, responding to a question on Venkaiah Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, said: “China’s position on the boundary issue is consistent and clear.”
“The Chinese government never recognizes the so-called Arunachal Pradesh established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side and is firmly opposed to the Indian leaders’ visits to the area concerned,” he said.
In response, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said: “Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. 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.”