Today's Paper

India expresses concern over China’s objection

K.V. Prasad

Arunachal Pradesh an integral part of India

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday expressed disappointment and concern over China objecting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh for the poll campaign. It asserted that the State is an integral and inalienable part of the country and that the comment did not help the ongoing boundary talks between the two countries.

Reacting to a statement from Beijing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said the people of Arunachal Pradesh were India’s citizens who proudly took part in the mainstream of the country’s vibrant democracy.

He said China was well aware of this position of the Government of India.

‘Established practice’

He said that in the country’s democratic system it was an established practice for its leaders to visit States where elections to Parliament and to the State Assemblies were taking place. The Government of India, he said, was deeply committed to ensuring the welfare of its own citizens across the length and breadth of the country.

The Chinese objection was to Dr. Singh’s visit to the State on October 3 to campaign ahead of the October 13 Assembly poll that witnessed 72 per cent turnout on Tuesday.

India and China have jointly agreed that the outstanding Boundary Question would be discussed by the Special Representatives appointed by the two Governments.

The 13th round of talks between the two Special Representatives, M.K. Narayanan and Dai Bingguo, was held in New Delhi during August this year.

“We, therefore, express our disappointment and concern over the statement made by the Official Spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since this does not help the process of ongoing negotiations between the two Governments on the Boundary Question,” the spokesperson said.

New Delhi said it hoped that China would similarly abide by this understanding. India’s concern was communicated to Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan during his scheduled meeting with the Joint Secretary (East) Vijay Gokhale.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told a television channel that the Dalai Lama would visit Arunachal Pradesh as per his schedule.