Ground Report | New Delhi: India, China face-off; New Delhi has vehemently rejected Chinese objections to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. India says China should focus on easing existing tensions on the border instead of raising such objections. China does not recognize the Indian region of Arunachal Pradesh, claiming that the region is part of its southern state of Tibet and that it is “illegally occupied” by India. Whenever a senior government official visits the region, China objects.
The recent bitter rhetoric between the two countries has rekindled tensions on the border in eastern Ladakh that have been raging in the two countries for more than a year and a half. Instead of diminishing it, over time, a situation of conflict has arisen on the fronts of Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.
India, China face-off
Indian and Chinese troops were recently face-off for a few hours at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Arunachal Pradesh sector, news agency ANI quoted sources as saying. ANI said that the face-to-face was resolved after talks between the local commanders as per the existing protocol.
There have been several border incidents between Indian and Chinese troops along the LAC in the last few years. “Such incidents will continue to happen until a long-term solution is found, and that is a border agreement. And that should be the thrust of our efforts so that we have lasting peace along the northern (China) border,” Army Chief General MM Naravane had said in September.
The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies escalated after the clashes in the Galwan Valley on June 15 last year. Twenty Indian Army personnel sacrificed their lives in the clashes that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.
What does China have to say?
Two days ago, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu arrived in Arunachal Pradesh on a visit, to which the Chinese Foreign Ministry vehemently objected, saying that Beijing was strongly opposed to such visits and that India needed to refrain from such a move. These activities could further complicate rather than resolve border issues.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said, “China’s position on the border issue has been consistent and clear. The Chinese government has never recognized the so-called Arunachal Pradesh, which was established unilaterally and illegally by India.” According to the spokesperson, as far as the region is concerned, China is strongly opposed to any Indian leader’s visit.
The Chinese spokesman added, “We urge India to respect these important concerns of China, to refrain from taking any step that could further complicate and widen the border issues.”
China says only positive action on the border can reduce tensions. According to the Chinese spokesman, India should “instead of taking these steps, take real and concrete steps to maintain peace and stability in the border areas that will lead to bilateral relations and sustainable development.”
Rejecting China’s objections, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arundham Bagchi reiterated his old position that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India. India gives the same answer regarding the disputed region of Kashmir. “We have taken note of the Chinese official’s remarks. We reject his statement. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and irrevocable part of India,” he said.
He said that Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh in the same way as they visit any other state in the country. The Foreign Ministry says China should try to ease tensions on the western border.
Even after a year and a half of the military standoff along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, the tension between India and China does not seem to be subsiding. The situation regarding Hot Springs has not been resolved even in the 13th round of Corps Commander level talks on Sunday.