Modi to visit Arunachal; more high-level visits coming despite China veto

Modi to visit Arunachal; more high-level visits coming despite China veto

China's continued protests failed to deter India from planning more high-level visits to Arunachal Pradesh in 2018.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Arunachal Pradesh in early 2018. Though the dates are yet to be finalised, the visit was discussed when Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu met the Prime Minister in New Delhi recently, sources told DH.

President Ram Nath Kovind's visit to Arunachal Pradesh last month triggered strong protests from Beijing. A spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Government told journalists in Beijing that China expected India to refrain from "complicating" the border dispute between the two neighbouring nations, particularly when bilateral relations were at a "crucial stage".

Beijing had also lodged a protest with New Delhi when Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited Arunachal Pradesh last month.

China does not recognise Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India and claims control over 83,500 sq km of territory in the state. Whenever the President, Prime Minister and union ministers visited the frontier state, Beijing lodged a protest with New Delhi, ostensibly to assert its claim on the territory.

Modi's first visit to Arunachal Pradesh in February 2015 too, had evoked a strong protest from Beijing.

Integral part

New Delhi, however, maintains that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and the leaders of the country and officials could visit any part of the country. India is of the view that China does not have any locus standi to make a comment on Indian leaders visiting an Indian state.

Beijing was also upset with New Delhi's decision to allow Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh in April this year.

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