The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday urged Manmohan Singh to call an all-party meeting to discuss India's relationship with China, a day after Beijing protested the prime minister's visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
"The BJP demands that the prime minister must call an all-party meeting at the earliest to have wider consultations and consensus on the entire design of China, the nature of our relationship and the kind of response that is required to be given," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
China on Tuesday expressed "strong dissatisfaction" over Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, a state whose territory it has claimed.
"China is strongly dissatisfied with the visit to the disputed region by the Indian leader disregarding China's serious concerns," Xinhua quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu as saying. The official did not refer to Manmohan Singh by name.
The prime minister visited Arunachal Pradesh October 3 to campaign for assembly elections that took place on Tuesday.
Prasad also said the response of the external affairs ministry to China's protest against the prime minister's visit "raises serious doubt in the minds of the people of the country about the government's will and capability to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country".
Prasad alleged that not only was China's aggressive posture being met with a timid response but there was a deliberate attempt to downplay it. He said, "China is increasing its pressure on the Himalayas through incursions all across, but the government of India has put a curb on all information relating to it."
Prasad also felt the pattern of Chinese belligerence sounded similar to what happened in and around 1962 when, he said, then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru did not undertake any wider consultation and depended upon the feedback of a very closed circle with disastrous consequences for the country.
He said the BJP favoured a "good relationship with China but not at the cost of the territorial integrity" of the country, and appealed for wider consultation and national consensus on a very strong response against what he called the aggressive designs of China.