India’s Vice President Naidu visited Arunachal Pradesh on October 9 and addressed a special session of the state assembly.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China has never recognised the state.
“China’s position on the boundary issue is consistent and clear. The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader’s visit to the area concerned,” Zhao said.
In Arunachal Pradesh, the Vice President had addressed the state Assembly, interacted with “achievers”, inaugurated the Assembly library, the Dorjee Khandu auditorium and a paper recycling unit in Itanagar, besides meeting the state leadership including the Governor and Chief Minister.
Within hours, the Ministry of External Affairs rejected Beijing’s statement, saying Arunachal Pradesh is an “integral and inalienable part” of India and objection to visits of Indian leaders to a state of India “does not stand to reason”.
Beijing’s objection to Indian leaders visiting Arunachal Pradesh is not done for the first time .
It has objected to visits in the past by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in 2019, and Home Minister Amit Shah in 2020.
Each time, its objection has invited a sharp response from the Indian government.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have noted the comments made today (Wednesday) by the Chinese official spokesperson.
He said Indian leaders routinely travel to Arunachal Pradesh as they do to any other state of India.
“Objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to a state of India does not stand to reason and understanding of Indian people,” he said.
Bagchi stated that the current situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas has been caused by unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo in violation of the bilateral agreements.
“Therefore, we expect the Chinese side to work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols rather than trying to link unrelated issues,” he said.
India and China have been engaged in the border dispute for the last 17 months.
Last Sunday, India and China military talks to end the dispute along LAC in Ladakh did not result in a resolution with the Chinese not agreeable to the “constructive suggestions” provided by the Indian delegation. The Chinese also could not provide any forward-looking proposals.
“The meeting thus did not result in the resolution of the remaining areas,” the Indian Army had said in a statement. So far, 13 rounds of India-China Corps Commander Level meetings have taken place since the dispute in May 2020.