13 Oct : India reacted strongly to Chinese objection to PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal, saying the comments were disappointing as the state is an inalienable part of the country and such remarks do “not help” the process of talks on boundary issue.
India said it is committed to ensure that outstanding differences are not allowed to affect the positive development of bilateral relations and hopes that China would “similarly abide by this understanding.”
The Indian reaction came as Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan met Vijay Gokhale, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, for a “scheduled meeting” during which the sentiments of India were conveyed to him verbally.
“Regardless of what others have to say, it is Government of India’s stated position that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, period,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters here, responding to China’s objection to Singh’s visit to the state 10 days back for an election rally.
China’s comments significantly came on a day when the state went to polls to elect new Assembly.
Rejecting Chinese objections, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said it was an established practice in India that leaders visit states where elections are held.
“We, therefore, express our disappointment and concern over the statement made by the Official Spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Prakash said.
The MEA spokesman underlined that such a comment by China “does not help the process of ongoing negotiations between the two governments on the boundary question.”
India says China is illegally occupying 43,180 sq kms area of Jammu and Kashmir.
On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq kms of Chinese territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.
Prakash said India is “committed to resolving outstanding differences with China in a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable manner, while ensuring that such differences are not allowed to affect the positive development of bilateral relations. We hope that the Chinese side will similarly abide by this understanding.”
Emphasising that Arunachal Pradesh is “an integral and inalienable part” of India, he said the people of the state “are citizens of India, and they are proud participants in the mainstream of India s vibrant democracy. The Chinese side is well aware of this position of the Government of India.”
He pointed out that “it is well established practice in our democratic system that our leaders visit states where elections to Parliament and to the State Assemblies are taking place.”
The Government of India, the MEA spokesman said, is deeply committed to ensuring the welfare of its own citizens across the length and breadth of the country.
The Chinese Ambassador refused to say anything about his 30-minute meeting with Gokhale, merely remarking that “It is very hot outside.”
The Indian reaction came after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said that “China is strongly dissatisfied with the visit to the disputed region by the Indian leader disregarding China’s serious concerns.”
“We demand the Indian side address China’s serious concerns and not trigger disturbance in the disputed region so as to facilitate the healthy development of China-India relations,” the Chinese spokesman said.
The MEA spokesman said India and China have jointly agreed that the outstanding boundary question will be discussed by the Special Representatives appointed by the two Governments and such comments by Beijing do not help that process.
China has earlier expressed objection to the visits by the Prime Minister and the President to Arunachal.
It has blocked part of a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a developmental project in the state.
China has also expressed opposition to a proposed visit of exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama to the state next month.