(TibetanReview.net, Sep05’23) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on Sep 3 rejected criticisms by China and Pakistan earlier this year for hosting G20 events in parts of India they claim are disputed territories ahead of hosting the main event of its Presidency of the group over Sep 9-10 in New Delhi.
In what has been described as a strong message to both China and Pakistan, Modi has made it clear in a PTI news agency interview Sep 3 that meetings can be held in any part of the country. “Our country is a vast, beautiful, and diverse country. Is it not natural that we hold G20 meetings in every region of the country?”
By the time India’s G20 presidency term ends, Modi has said, over 220 meetings would have taken place across 60 cities in all 28 states and eight union territories, adding that over one lakh participants from around 125 nationalities would witness the skills of Indians.
China had skipped the G20 Research Innovation Initiative Gathering held in Arunachal Pradesh on May 26 this year. However, it was not clear whether it officially lodged a protest with India against the meeting, which was held in the state’s capital Itanagar, with the attendance of some 50 delegates.
China claims the state to be part of its territory on the basis of its armed invasion and illegal annexation of Tibet in the 1950s. It adopted a more aggressive position in recent years and began calling the state “Zangnan” or southern Tibet. It particularly, China covets the state’s Tawang town area, the birthplace of Tibet’s 6th Dalai Lama.
China also boycotted the third G20 Working Group meeting on Tourism that India hosted in its Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir over May 22-24 to express support for its all-weather friend Pakistan.
“China is firmly opposed to holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory, and will not attend such meetings,” Reuters May 19 quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin as saying.
China is itself in occupation of Aksai Chin, a chunk of India’s Union Territory of Ladakh, which happened after its occupation of Tibet.
China is a G20 member but its President Xi Jinping is skipping the group’s New Delhi main event, and will be represented by its Premier Li Qiang. Pakistan is not a member and calls Kashmir a disputed territory, while India asserts claim over the part of Kashmir that is currently under Pakistan’s control.