(TibetanReview.net, Dec01, 2013) China has decided to raise the pitch on Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s Nov 29-30 visit to the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims is Chinese territory. After having issued a rather mildly worded criticism of the visit on Nov 29 in an official statement, China decided to up the ante by taking up the visit bilaterally with India later in the day, reported timesofindia.indiatimes.com Nov 30. It cited sources as saying India reacted promptly by giving an appropriate response to the reservations expressed by Beijing.
The report added that Indian officials, in fact, reiterated what Mukherjee said after arriving in the state’s capital Itanagar earlier in the day, that Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India.
Beijing was said to have conveyed to India that visits to Arunachal such as the ongoing one by Mukherjee were not in the interest of ties between the two countries. It has said the two sides needed to work together to maintain peace and stability along the border areas.
In his speech to the state assembly, Mr Mukherjee referred to India’s deep historical claim to the state. “It is believed that here, sage Parashuram washed away his sins, sage Vyasa meditated, king Bhishmaka founded his kingdom and Lord Krishna married his consort Rukmini,” another timesofindia.indiatimes.com report Nov 30 quoted him as having told the state assembly.
He was also reported to have placed Arunachal Pradesh as a “core stakeholder” in India’s Look East policy. “The northeast of India provides a natural bridge between us and Southeast Asia. The essential philosophy of our Look East policy is that India must find its destiny by linking itself more and more with its Asian partners… Our best economic interests are served by closer integration with Asia,” he has said.
In its earlier statement, reported by India’s PTI news service Nov 29 as sober and guarded, and devoid of any protest, China’s foreign ministry had only expressed hope that India would refrain from “actions that complicate the boundary question”.
China explains its claim on Nov 30, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang urged India to refrain from moves that complicates boundary issues and work with China to create conditions for talks, reported the official Xinhua news agency Nov 30. “We hope India can work with China to protect the overall relationship, preserve peace and tranquility on the border,” it quoted Qin as saying.
Specifying its claim in further details, the report said: “The so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ was established largely on the three areas of China’s Tibet – Monyul, Loyul and Lower Tsayul currently under Indian illegal occupation. These three areas, located between the illegal ‘Mcmahon Line’ and the traditional customary boundary between China and India, have always been Chinese territory.”
The report further said: “In 1914, the colonialists secretly contrived the illegal ‘Mcmahon Line’ in an attempt to incorporate into India the above-mentioned three areas of Chinese territory. None of the successive Chinese governments have ever recognized this line.”