Union Home minister P Chidambaram visited Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday, the third time in the past 15 months that a central minister has gone to the Buddhist town over which China has laid claims.
Chidamabaram left for Tawang early in the morning in a helicopter, accompanied by Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and Home Minister Tako Dabi, official sources said.
Besides the famed Tawang monastery, they also visited the district hospital and the craft centre and then left for Khonsa, headquarters of Tirap district in the extreme eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh that shares its border with Myanmar.
The Union minister also reviewed the law-and-order situation there.
Chidambaram, however, skipped a visit to forward areas in Tawang as planned earlier. He was supposed to visit the town on Thursday but could not do so because of inclement weather.
In the past 15 months, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A K Antony had visited Tawang. Tibetan spiritual leaders the Dalai Lama had also gone to the Buddhist town last November amid strong criticism by China.
Chidambaram's visit today came a day after his assertion that Tawang and other areas of Arunachal Pradesh are integral parts of India and will always remain so.
"Tawang and all of Arunachal Pradesh are part of India and will always remain a part of India. I think we have stated this more than once, reiterating it is not necessary...," Chidambaram told reporters here yesterday.
China claims that Tawang and some other areas of Arunachal Pradesh are part of it. But India has always rejected these claims.