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China objects to Indian defence minister’s border state visit

India’s Defence Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, on her visit to Arunachal Pradesh. (Photo courtesy: northeasttoday.in)
India’s Defence Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, on her visit to Arunachal Pradesh. (Photo courtesy: northeasttoday.in)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov09, 2017) – China on Nov 6 expressed objection over the fact that India’s Defence Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, had visited Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims is part of South Tibet and therefore part of Chinese territory. The visit would complicate efforts by both sides to maintain peace along the disputed border region, Reuters Nov 6 cited Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as saying.

The report said the Indian Defence Minister had visited Arunachal Pradesh along the Line of Actual Control, the de facto, but disputed, border between the two countries on Nov 5 to take stock of defence preparedness there.

Sitharaman had tweeted pictures of her visit, including her meeting with Indian army officers, on the forward Army posts in remote Anjaw district of the state.

“An Indian official going to a disputed region on the China- India border will perhaps make the issue even more complex, and is not beneficial to efforts by both parties to maintain peace and tranquility on the border,” Hua was quoted as saying.

“We hope India can work with China to continue to use talks to appropriately resolve the border issue via negotiation and create good conditions and atmosphere,” she was reported to have added.

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China stretches to 3,488 kms. The two sides have held 19 rounds of talks through their Special Representatives but have never managed to go beyond agreeing to maintain peace and tranquility along the disputed border.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, on Nov 7 dismissed China’s objection to Ms Sitharaman’s visit, saying the defence minister meets soldiers to understand various issues and such trips are always a source of motivation for the armed forces, reported India’s PTI news agency Nov 7.

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