China protests PM Narendra Modi's visit to Arunachal Pradesh

Beijing: China on Friday lodged a strong protest with India over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Arunachal Pradesh and expressed its "diametrical opposition" to the trip which it said was not conducive for resolving the border dispute.

 China protests PM Narendra Modis visit to Arunachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Arunachal Pradesh. PTI

"The act of the Indian side is not conducive to properly resolving and controlling disputes between the two sides, nor in conformity with the general situation of growth of bilateral relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in strongly worded statement.

China has lodged a strong representation with India to express "diametrical opposition" to Prime Minister Modi's visit to a "disputed zone" along the China-India borders, Hua said.

The remarks came as Modi visited Arunachal Pradesh today and said the Centre was planning to make the region an organic hub to boost agriculture production and improve 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity in the northeast region neglected for long.

"Modi visited a disputed zone in the eastern part of China-India borders on Friday to attend activities marking the founding of the so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh', a state that Indian authorities illegally and unilaterally declared in 1987," state-run Xinhua news agency claimed in a report on Hua's statement.

Hua said, "The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh'."

She said China's stance on the disputed area on the eastern part of the China-India border is consistent and clear. Hua asserted that it is a universally recognised fact that huge disputes exist on the eastern section of China-India borders.

"The so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh' was established largely on the three areas of China's Tibet -- Monyul, Loyul and Lower Tsayul currently under Indian illegal occupation. These three areas, located between the illegal ' McMahon Line' and the traditional customary boundary between China and India, have always been Chinese territory," the Xinhua report claimed.

"In 1914, the colonialists secretly contrived the illegal 'McMahon Line' in an attempt to incorporate into India the above-mentioned three areas of Chinese territory. None of the successive Chinese governments have ever recognised this line," it said.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as a part of Southern Tibet and disputes the McMahon Line.

Hua said, "We demand the Indian side to pay attention to the strong concern of the Chinese side."

She said India should march towards the same goal with China and insist on a fair and reasonable resolution of the border issue through negotiation.

"We demand the Indian side not to take any action that may complicate the border issue before its resolution so as to maintain the sound momentum in the growth of bilateral relations," Hua said.

China routinely objects to visits of Indian dignitaries to Arunachal Pradesh. China had also lodged a strong protest with India when then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Arunachal Pradesh in October 2009.

Modi's remarks during campaigning in Arunachal Pradesh for the general elections last year in which he had asked China to shed its "expansionist mindset" had irked Beijing.

Today's protest by China comes ahead of the planned 18th round of border talks between Special Representatives of the two countries likely to take place some time next month and Modi's visit expected in May.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Beijing early this month to make preparation for Modi's visit.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who has been designated as the Special Representative will head the Indian side in border talks for the first time.

Unlike the previous 17 rounds, the next round of talks were expected to focus on the demarcation of the Line Of Actual Control (LAC) in the backdrop of incursions by the Chinese troops in 2014 and this year.

The incursion by Chinese troops in the Chumar area in the Ladakh region overshadowed Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to India last September. It was resolved subsequently with both sides withdrawing simultaneously from the area.

Chinese position is that the border dispute is confined to 2000 km mostly in Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4000 km including Aksai Chin area occupied by China in the 1962 war.

Notwithstanding differences over the border issue, Sino-India ties have made progress in different areas, including trade and military to military relations.

PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 20, 2015 21:00:29 IST