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Published On: Thu, Nov 9th, 2017

“Arunachal is an integral part of India and Indian leaders have freedom to visit Arunachal

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637449-nirmala-nathu-laNEW DELHI :  After China expressed anger over Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month, the government on Thursday reasserted that the northeastern state is an integral part of India.”
In a strong message to China, India on Thursday rejected Beijing’s objection to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the state is ”an integral part of the country” and the Indian leaders are free to go anywhere in the state.

“Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and Indian leaders have that much freedom to visit Arunachal as they have in visiting other states in the country,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.As you all know, Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in his weekly media briefing here.

Kumar made this remark while replying to a question on next round of talks between Special Representatives of India and China on the boundary dispute. Both sides are in touch with each other, he added.”We do not have any confirmed dates for talks as yet. The two sides are in touch. Once we have some dates for it, we will let you know,” Kumar said.
“Indian leaders have all the right and freedom to visit Arunachal Pradesh as they have to visit any other part of India,” he stated.On Sunday, Sitharaman paid a visit to Army posts in remote Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China which considers the northeastern Indian state as its own and calls it South Tibet.

Accompanied by Indian Army officers, Sitharaman took stock of the defence preparedness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Following this, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing that “we must be very clear about this that there is a dispute on the eastern section of China-India boundary”.

“This visit by the India side to the disputed area is not conducive to the peace and tranquility of the relevant region. We hope the Indian side will work with the Chinese side to continue to make a contribution to properly resolving the boundary issue through dialogue and create enabling atmosphere and condition for this,” Hua said.
China expresses anger whenever any Indian minister or foreign dignitary visits Arunachal Pradesh.In April, ties between India and China took a hit when Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet and routinely objects to top Indian officials’ visits to the area.Asked about China’s latest comment that India’s stand on the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is wavering, Kumar said New Delhi’s position on the issue is “very clear” and “principled”.

India has strongly objected to the CPEC as it is being laid through the disputed territory and boycotted a high-profile Belt and Road Forum organised by China in May. The MEA spokesperson concluded by saying that India will always be open to any efforts which will address its legitimate concerns in this regard.
With PTI inputs





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