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India rebuffs China’s objection to PM’s Arunachal visit

Modi was in Arunachal Pradesh's Itanagar on 9 March to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone for projects to the tune of $6.7 billion

India rebuffs China’s objection to PM’s Arunachal visit
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

India has rejected objections raised by China on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh last week.

“Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from time to time, as they visit other States of India. Objecting to such visits or India’s developmental projects does not stand to reason. Further, it will not change the reality that the State of Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India,” the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said in response to Chinese objection. 

The Chinese side has been made aware of this consistent position on several occasions, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.

Prime Minister Modi was in Arunachal Pradesh’s Itanagar on 9 March to inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for several development projects in India’s North-East worth about 55,600 crore ($6.7 billion).

Modi also virtually dedicated to the nation the Sela tunnel project, connecting Tezpur in Assam to Tawang in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The tunnel has been constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at an altitude of 13,000 feet at a total cost of 825 crore (about $100 million) to provide all-weather connectivity in the Indo-China border region.

China, which claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, routinely objects to top Indian leaders’ visits to the state. The Chinese government has also ascribed names to areas to maintain its claims. 

“Zangnan area is Chinese territory,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response to a media query on Modi’s Arunachal visit.

“China never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh illegally set up by India and firmly opposes it,” he claimed, adding that India has no right to arbitrarily develop the area.

“Relevant moves by India only complicate the boundary question. China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to the leader’s visit to the eastern section of the China-India boundary,” he said.

“We have made solemn representations to India,” Wang added.

During his visit to Itanagar last week, Modi addressed ‘Viksit Bharat Viksit North East Program’ and launched the UNNATI scheme worth about 10,000 crore (about $1.2 billion). The development projects encompassed sectors like rail, road, health, housing, education, border infrastructure, IT, Power, Oil and Gas, among others.

Modi dedicated and laid the foundation stone of multiple development projects worth more than 41,000 crore (about $5 billion)  in Arunachal Pradesh.

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