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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

China plays down Modi's remark on Arunachal

Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times  Beijing, February 24, 2014
First Published: 16:44 IST(24/2/2014) | Last Updated: 11:49 IST(25/2/2014)

The disputed border with India is a sensitive issue but both countries have decided to resolve it through talks, China said on Monday seemingly seeking to play down BJP leader Narendra Modi’s remarks that Arunachal Pradesh was India’s integral part.

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Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, said at a political rally over the weekend that China should curb its expansionist policies and that Arunachal Pradesh (AP) will always be a part of India.

China claims AP as its own, calling it South Tibet. In the past, Beijing authorities have denied visas to many Indians including army officers and officials from AP travelling to China.

On Monday, foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying instead sought to play down the implications of Modi’s statement, indicating that both New Delhi and Beijing were handling issue of the long and disputed border in a mature manner.

“The China-India border issue is one that has been left over from history. That being said, it is quite a complex and sensitive problem. It cannot be resolved by one or two rounds of talks,” she told a daily news briefing while responding to a question on Modi’s speech.

China, she said was dedicated to promoting friendly relations with India and resolve disputes through negotiations.

“What is important is that China and India have both expressed many times their determination and desire to peacefully resolve the dispute through talks, dialogue and consultation,” she added.

Before a final resolution is reached, both sides should work hard to maintain peace and tranquility on the border, Hua said.

The spokesperson said: “The fact that there have been no shots fired in so many years really shows that both sides have the desire and ability to maintain peace and stability on the border.”

The border has remained largely peaceful for decades but military and civilian personnel are often known to cross the Line of Actual Control illegally.

Last year, the two militaries were caught in a three-week stand-off in Leh.

Subsequently, the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) was signed between the two countries to prevent and resolve cases of incursion.

The Deputy Chief of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Wang Guanzhong is currently in Delhi for the 6th round of Defence Dialogue with the Indian Defence Secretary R K Mathur.

They are expected to discuss issues like functioning of the BDCA, military exchanges, training and joint military exercises.


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