DHARAMSHALA, February 27: India has sharply reacted to statements from Beijing opposing the Indian Defence Minister AK Antony's visit to India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Following Antony's visit to Arunachal last week to mark the 25 years statehood celebrations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had said on Saturday that India should refrain from taking any action that could "complicate" the border issue and "asked India to work with China to maintain peace and stability in border areas.”
Reacting to China's objections, India’s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters Sunday that India would take up the “serious” issue with Beijing at an appropriate forum and asserted "India will not tolerate external interference of China into the Indian territorial affairs".
"All seven states in North Eastern parts of India are part and parcel of India and China has no rights to make adverse remarks on Antony's visit to Arunachal Pradesh," Krishna told reporters.
Defence Minister A K Antony has expressed "surprise" over objections raised by China to his visit to Arunachal Pradesh. "I was surprised at this reaction. This is unfortunate and really objectionable," the Defence Minister said.
"I have the right and it's my duty to visit areas of our country. I have the privilege of visiting Arunachal Pradesh since 1984 and I am happy to see the progress of the state and Arunachal Pradesh is progressing well," he added.
China has repeatedly laid territorial dominion over all of Arunachal and denies visa to people of Arunachal Pradesh.
Meanwhile, a Ladakh-based social organisation has claimed that China is increasing strength along India-Tibet border by setting up a number of posts near LoC in Demchok and establishing connectivity within its own border area.
A British daily had reported last month that the 15th round of Sino-Indian special representative talks held in New Delhi in mid-January had ended in a deadlock after Beijing insisted it would settle for nothing less that “its share” of Arunachal Pradesh.
Referring to the 15th round of talk, C Raja Mohan, senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, pointed out that the territorial dispute between India and China is “inextricably intertwined with the Tibet question.”
“While there are profound sensitivities on the issue, Delhi and Beijing understand that the territorial dispute is inextricably intertwined with the Tibet question,” Raja wrote in the Indian Express last month.
“Opening a quiet Sino-Indian conversation on Tibet and expanding positive engagement on the Tibetan frontier, then, makes practical sense for Delhi and Beijing,” he added.
India and China occupied Tibet share a 3488 km long disputed border which was the cause of a short but bloody war in 1962. Since then, the two Asian giants have shared uneasy military ties with a series of border talks failing to yield much result.