On a day when five lakh voters queued up to elect their next government in Arunachal Pradesh, China raised the pitch of its claim over the state by objecting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit there on October 3.
Delhi responded swiftly. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) expressed “disappointment and concern” at Beijing’s statement, saying it wouldn’t help ongoing negotiations between the two governments on the boundary question.
This was also officially conveyed to China's ambassador, Zhang Yan, during his 30-minute meeting with Vijay Gokhale, joint secretary (East Asia) in the MEA. .
Indian officials said it was routine for China to protest visits by Indian leaders to Arunachal. But Tuesday’s statement is being seen as relatively shriller in its tone and tenor, possibly provoked due to India’s decision to allow the Dalai Lama proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh in November.
“China expresses its strong dissatisfaction on the visit by the Indian leader to the disputed area in disregard of China's grave concerns,’’ foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in the statement.
“Regardless of what others have to say, it is Government ofirmf India's stated position that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India. Period," responded External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.