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China kicks up Arunachal row, scuttling Indian youth exchange delegation

(TibetanReview.net, Apr21, 2014) India has expressed anger at being told by China not to include nominations from its Tibet-bordering state of Arunachal Pradesh in its annual youth exchange delegation for May 2014. It has provoked the county’s Youth Affairs Minister, Mr Jitendra Singh, to shot off a strongly worded letter to the External Affairs Minister Mr Salman Khurshid, asking him to cancel the trip altogether, reported the Indian express Apr 20.

The report quoted Singh, who is also Minister of State for Defence, as saying in his first letter Apr 12, “I believe these incremental steps by China to challenge India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh and its other territories must be nipped in the bud, lest these lead to bigger and more direct challenges. Hence, youth from Arunachal Pradesh should form part of the youth delegation from India to China and if this is not acceptable, the exchange of youth delegation should be stopped.”

Singh has said the Chinese side had conveyed its demand orally.

Because Singh did not get a response from the External Affairs Minister, he wrote to him a reminder on Apr 3, the report added. However, while not giving a clear direction, the External Affairs Ministry withdrew the political clearance given to the Minister and Secretary of Youth Affairs to head the delegation, saying India was in “election mode” and it might not be the right time to undertake a visit as bilateral issues may arise.

Singh was further quoted as saying, referring to the Chinese demand, “I think that is very serious. I find it disturbing and absolutely absurd. How can China dictate whom we can include in our delegation and from where? That’s for us to decide. I have taken it up with the External Affairs Minister and asked that the delegation not be allowed to go if China insists on this condition.”

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