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India cancels annual youth delegation to China after Arunachal row

(TibetanReview.net, Apr23, 2014) – India on Apr 21 decided to cancel an annual youth exchange delegation’s visit to China after the latter had warned that it should not include any nominee from the Tibet-bordering state of Arunachal Pradesh, reported the Indian Express Apr 22. China claims that the state belongs to it as a part of its claim over occupied Tibet. It recently began calling the state southern Tibet.

The cancellation of the tour came after India expressed anger at being told by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi that no nominations from the state should be included in its annual youth exchange delegation for May 2014. It provoked the county’s Youth Affairs Minister, Mr Jitendra Singh, to shoot 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.

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.”

India’s cancellation of the youth delegation came on the day China again reiterated its claim over Arunachal Pradesh. “China’s position on the boundary question between India and China is clear cut and consistent,” the Indian Express report of Apr 22 quoted China’s Foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Qang as saying in Beijing when asked about the development.

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