India and China are back to sparring over territorial claims involving Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin.
It all started with the Chinese government showing Arunachal and entire Aksai Chin as part of its territory in maps of the country on their new e-passports.
Unhappy at this, the Indian embassy in Beijing is said to be issuing visas to Chinese nationals with a map of India showing Arunachal and Aksai Chin as its territories.
After the water marks in the new Chinese e-passports showed Arunachal and Aksai Chin as part of China, the Indian mission started issuing visas with Indian maps, including these places as part of its territory.
China had triggered a diplomatic row by issuing stapled visas to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, terming it as a "disputed territory" and denied visas to those hailing from Arunachal Pradesh.
Peeved over this action, India lodged a strong protest with China which subsequently reverted to issuing normal visas to residents of J-K but without officially admitting that they were doing so.
China’s claim to Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, which shares a 1,030-km unfenced border with it, is not new.
In 1962, China and India fought a brief war over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996 the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control to maintain peace and tranquility.
Significantly, these developments occur even as a high- level team of Chinese diplomats, for the first time, visited Sikkim in connection with consular issues, which was seen as reconfirmation of Beijing's stance of accepting the state as part of India.
The development comes to light days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Cambodia where the two leaders discussed ways to move forward on the vexed boundary issue.
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon is expected to visit Beijing soon for the next round of boundary talks at the level of Special Representatives with his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo.