India rejects Chinese objection to PM visit to Arunachal Pradesh

      The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday reiterated that the State of Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. The statement issued by a spokesman of the ministry shortly after China expressed "strong" dissastisfaction over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh for electioneering. "The State of Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. The people of Arunachal Pradesh are citizens of India. 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," said the official spokesperson. "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 is deeply committed to ensuring the welfare of its own citizens across the length and breadth of our country," the official spokesperson added. Expressing disappointment over the statement made by the official spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the official spokesperson said: "India and China have jointly agreed that the outstanding boundary question will be discussed by the special representatives appointed by the two Governments. We, therefore, express our disappointment and concern over the statement made by the official spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since this does not help the process of ongoing negotiations between the two Governments on the boundary question." "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," the official spokesperson added. Earlier in the day, China's Ambassador to India Zhang Yang met officials of the MEA, including the Joint Secretary in-charge of China, Vijay Gokhale, shortly after his government objected to Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh. There was no word about what Yang had discussed with the MEA officials. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu had said: "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." "China is strongly dissatisfied with the visit to the disputed region by the Indian leader disregarding China's serious concerns," Mas added in a statement posted on the ministry's website. He noted that China and India had "never officially settled" demarcation of their border, and China's stance on the eastern section of the China-India border was "consistent and clear-cut". The Indian Government has all along indicated that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and that the people of that state have a democratic right to elect a government of their choice. Singh had toured and addressed an election rally in Arunachal Pradesh on October 3. Recently, China had blocked a part of a loan to India from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for developmental projects in Arunachal Pradesh. China also protested a visit to the state last month by exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama. India says China is illegally occupying 43,180 sq kms of Jammu and Kashmir. On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq km of Chinese territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh. Singh had earlier visited Arunachal Pradesh on January 31 and February 1 and had then referred to it as "Our land of the rising sun" at a public rally, which was objected to by China. China apparently saw it as India's assertion of its claim on Arunachal, which it claims is a "disputed territory".

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