Injecting a sour note in the improving bilateral ties, China has protested against Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh evoking a dismissive reaction from India which asserted that the Prime Minister has a right to visit any part of the country.
Less than a month after the Prime Minister undertook a visit to China which both sides described as very successful, Beijing has verbally protested about his visit to Arunachal Pradesh last week when he said that the border state "is our land of rising Sun".
The protest was verbally conveyed to low-ranking officials in the Indian Embassy in Beijing.
India lost no time in rejecting the Chinese protest with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee saying "Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of our country."
He told reporters in Mumbai that in Indian Parliament there is regular representation of people from Arunachal Pradesh duly elected from the state.
"Therefore, it is quite obvious that the Prime Minister will visit any part of the country," he said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry officials have said they were unhappy with the Prime Minister's visit to Arunachal Pradesh and his comments there.
Beijing feels that it was not appropriate for the Prime Minister to visit a state, major parts of which it claims are its territory.
Singh, during his maiden visit to Arunachal on January 31, had said that the state was "our land of rising Sun", in a clear message to China that it belongs to India.
The Chinese unhappiness comes more than a fortnight after Singh had a good visit to Beijing when the two countries agreed to expedite resolution of the boundary issue.