On a day when China expressed objections to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh on the grounds that it was disputed territory, former Minister for External Affairs Natwar Singh said that India’s claim to Tawang in Arunachal was not a very old one.
“In the map of India even in 1953 Tawang was not shown,” Singh said during a discussion on his book My China Diary: 1956-88 on Tuesday.
He added: “I hope the Indian Prime Minister goes to Tawang, but he doesn’t. Why? If you are convinced it is part of India, why don’t you go?”
Singh said that he was appreciative of the cool-headed approach of Prime Minister Singh, that had helped ease the present tensions between India and China. “Manmohan Singh makes a very good impression abroad,” he said.
Singh was removed as External Affairs Minister in 2005 in the aftermath of the Volcker scandal, relating to alleged illegal payoffs in an Iraqi oil scam.
Natwar Singh said there was no threat of war with China. But he said that the boundary question had no easy answers. “China can wait for a long time to settle boundary disputes. We should show the same staying power.”