India on Wednesday asserted again that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was well within his rights to visit the State.

“Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and the just-concluded Assembly election there, held under the Indian Constitution, proved it,” Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at a press conference here.

Mr. Mukherjee was reacting to China’s objection and protest over Dr. Singh’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

At another press conference here, United States Ambassador, Timothy J. Roemer said the issue between China and India was a bilateral issue and one that Washington was confident would be resolved peacefully.

He was asked what his government’s stand was on Beijing’s remarks over Arunachal Pradesh.

“The U.S. respects the process of elections taking place and the outcome [of the elections] in those regions [in the three States where they were held on Tuesday],” he said.

“We saw the people of India turning out in thousands at the polling booths yesterday. We respect the outcome of those elections and we look forward to working with the leaders these regions elect,” he added.

Mr. Mukherjee, who was addressing the press meet at the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters, said just a few months ago, the people of Arunachal Pradesh sent their representatives to Parliament under the Constitution.

As leader of the Congress campaign, it was appropriate that the Prime Minister visited Arunachal Pradesh prior to the recent Assembly election there. “I too visited Arunachal Pradesh for campaigning and we consider it our legitimate right to do so,” he said.