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India rejects Chinese criticism of US ambassador’s visit to Tawang

Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal with the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu (R) and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday. (Photo courtesy: PTI)
Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal with the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu (R) and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday. (Photo courtesy: PTI)

(TibetanReview.net, Oct26, 2016) – China lodged a protest through diplomatic channels with New Delhi as well as Washington, saying it was “firmly opposed” to the Oct 21-23 visit to Tawang in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh by the US Ambassador Mr Richard Verma, reported major Indian online news portals Oct 24-15. India has rejected the Chinese protest.

China calls the state a disputed territory and has recently been describing the territory as southern Tibet. Verma visited the state for the fifth annual Tawang festival on invitation by the state’s Chief Minister Mr Pema Khandu. On Oct 21 he posted photos of the visit on his Twitter account.

Also, on Oct 24, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called on the US to “stop its interference” in the boundary issue between China and India. Any interference by Washington in the Sino-India boundary dispute will make it “more complicated” and “disturb” hard won peace at the border, Lu was cited as saying.

“We have also noted that the place visited by senior US diplomatic official is a disputed region between China and India. We are firmly opposed to his visit,” he was quoted as saying.

“Any responsible third party should respect efforts by China and India to seek peaceful and stable reconciliation, and not the opposite,” Reuters Oct 24 quoted Lu as saying at a regular press briefing.

However, India’s Ministry of External Affairs has described Verma’s visit as “nothing unusual” since the state is an integral part of the country.

“The US Ambassador visited Arunachal Pradesh, a state which is an integral part of the country to which he is accredited,” MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup was quoted as saying in response to the Chinese statement.

China routinely protests visits to the state by Indian leaders, foreign officials, as well as the Dalai Lama. The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet is already scheduled to visit the state again in Mar 2017.

China overran Tawang during its 1962 attack on India but quickly withdrew.

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