China is “fully aware” that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Tawang on Sunday.
Pointing out that India and China are working together to find a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable” solution to the boundary question, he said “the Chinese side is fully aware that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India”.
“China is often making claims on Arunachal Pradesh, but Arunachal Pradesh has a special place in our heart,” said Mukherjee, who visited a 400-year-old monastery in this border town and was the chief guest at the 8th Buddha Mahotsava.
“The people of Arunachal elect two representatives to the Lok Sabha and there is an elected state assembly carrying out the responsibility of administration, like any of the other states. The question of parting company with Arunachal or any of its parts does not arise,” he said.
Mukherjee’s rejection of the Chinese claim on Arunachal follows Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent declaration that Arunachal is “our land of the rising sun”.
Mukherjee said “both India and China are seeking a peaceful solution to the border dispute. The special representatives of the prime ministers of both countries have completed 12 rounds of talks. There are problems in identification of land between the two countries.” He said one of the parametres India was insisting on was that no settled population could be exchanged.
In a apparent move to soothe China, which had reacted sharply to his recent remark that Beijing’s rise posed a challenge to New Delhi, he said: “It has been my constant endeavour to develop friendly and cooperative ties with China.”