Arunachal asks New Delhi to firm up stand against Chinese claims

Arunachal asks New Delhi to firm up stand against Chinese claims

Dorjee Khandu

“Chinese claims over Arunachal Pradesh are simply baseless and not correct. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and would continue to do so,” Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said.

Beijing in 2003 gave up its territorial claim over the Indian state of Sikkim but still holds on to its stand that nearly all of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to it.

The mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,030 km unfenced border with China.

“The government of India should be more assertive and make its stand on Arunachal Pradesh very clear to China. New Delhi needs to make a bold statement about frequent Chinese claims,” Takam Sanjay, a ruling Congress party MP from Arunachal Pradesh, told said.

The reaction of Arunachal Pradesh lawmakers comes at a time when there are allegations of a Chinese intrusion in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, besides similar apprehensions from the chief minister of Uttarakhand state that shares a border with China.

China last week raked up a controversy asking India not to allow Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh in November.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said: "We firmly oppose Dalai visiting the so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh'."

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China, besides capital Itanagar.

“China has no business to interfere with the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh. We welcome the Dalai Lama's visit and will ensure that his trip is successful,” Sanjay said.

“Let it be known to Beijing that Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader of the world and can visit any part of the world without Beijing's nod.”

It is through Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh that in 1959 the Dalai Lama escaped the Chinese to enter India.

The India-China border along Arunachal Pradesh is separated by the McMahon Line, an imaginary border now known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

India and China fought a border war in 1962, with Chinese troops advancing deep into Arunachal Pradesh and inflicting heavy casualties on Indian troops.

The border dispute with China was inherited by India from British colonial rulers, who hosted a 1914 conference with the Tibetan and Chinese governments that set the border in what is now Arunachal Pradesh.

China has never recognised the 1914 McMahon Line and claims 90,000 sq km, nearly all of Arunachal Pradesh. India also accuses China of occupying 8,000 sq km in Kashmir.

After 1962, tensions flared again in 1986 with Indian and Chinese forces clashing in Sumdorong Chu valley of Arunachal. Chinese troops reportedly built a helipad in the valley leading to fresh skirmishes along the borders.

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