India rejects China’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh, says it is absurd | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India rejects China’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh, says it is absurd

Mar 19, 2024 02:45 PM IST

The latest exchanges between India and China were triggered by the inauguration of the Sela Tunnel, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at a cost of ₹825 crore

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday rejected as “absurd” the Chinese side’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh, saying the northeastern state is an integral and inalienable part of the country.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said the Chinese side had made absurd claims over the territory of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh. (REUTERS FILE)
External affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said the Chinese side had made absurd claims over the territory of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh. (REUTERS FILE)

Last week, the spokesperson of the Chinese defence ministry contended that Arunachal Pradesh is “China’s inherent territory” and that Beijing “firmly opposes” India’s establishment of the state.

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Responding to these remarks, external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said the Chinese side had made “absurd claims over the territory of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh”.

Jaiswal added: “Repeating baseless arguments in this regard does not lend such claims any validity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.”

The people of Arunachal Pradesh will continue to benefit from India’s development programmes and infrastructure projects, Jaiswal said in response to the Chinese side’s opposition to infrastructure projects such as the Sela Tunnel.

This was the latest in a war of words between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing refers to as “Zangnan” and claims as part of South Tibet. In recent years, China has resorted to steps such as renaming dozens of towns and geographical features in Arunachal Pradesh as part of its efforts to reinforce its claim on the region.

India has rubbished these claims. Ties between the two sides are currently at a six-decade low over the military standoff in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is currently in its fourth year. India has maintained that bilateral ties cannot be normalised till peace and tranquillity is restored on the border.

The latest exchanges between the two sides have been triggered by India’s inauguration of the Sela Tunnel, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at a cost of 825 crore. The world’s longest twin-lane tunnel, located above 13,000 feet, provides all-weather connectivity and allows quicker deployment of troops and equipment to forward areas in the Tawang sector of the LAC.

On Friday, the Chinese defence ministry spokesperson, senior colonel Zhang Xiaogang said that Beijing has never recognised India’s “illegal establishment” of Arunachal Pradesh.

Zhang also described the overall situation in the China-India border areas as “stable”, and said both sides maintain effective communication through diplomatic and military channels to “address border issues of mutual concern”.

In a reference to the opening of the Sela Tunnel, Zhang claimed India’s actions are “contrary to the efforts of both sides to ease the border situation and are not conducive to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas”.

The Chinese side, he said, requires the Indian side to “cease any action that may complicate the boundary question”. He added, “The Chinese military remains highly vigilant and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Last week, India rejected the Chinese foreign ministry’s opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh for the inauguration of the Sela Tunnel. China traditionally bristles over visits to Arunachal Pradesh by top Indian leaders but such reactions are brushed aside by New Delhi. The Indian side also said that objecting to such visits or India’s developmental projects will not change the reality that the state of Arunachal Pradesh “was, is, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India”.

Sela Tunnel is part of projects taken up by India to upgrade infrastructure all along the LAC amid the dragging military standoff with China in the Ladakh sector that began in May 2020. Both sides have arrayed close to 50,000 troops each in the Ladakh sector following skirmishes in mid-2020 that left 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops dead.

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