Arunachal row shadows India-China relations

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Ahead of the visit by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India, China has renewed its claims over Arunachal Pradesh. The visits by Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed in entirety by Beijing, has consistently elicited protests from China, and this time it was not different when President Ram Nath Kovind visited India’s easternmost state.“Before the border issue is resolved, both sides should jointly work hard to protect the peace and tranquillity of the border region. China resolutely opposes Indian leaders’ activities in disputed regions”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a media briefing. Calling it a “crucial moment” in India-China relations, Beijing has warned the Indian establishment against any attempt to complicate matters. “The Chinese government (has) never acknowledged the so-called Arunachal Pradesh”, Mr Lu added.

In his speech to the state assembly, President Kovind glowingly described Arunachal as ”the jewel in the crown” of India’s northeast and outlined the initiatives undertaken by the government to improve connectivity by advancing the state’s transport links. India has consistently maintained that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and therefore it sees the visits by Indian leaders as perfectly legitimate.In April this year China expressed unhappiness with India’s decision to host Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in the region. More recently, while there was a friendly exchange between India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chinese soldiers during her visit to Sikkim, China was quick to object to her visit to the border district of Anjaw in Arunachal Pradesh.

 

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