New Delhi: China expressed its “firm opposition" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, and said it will lodge a formal diplomatic protest with India over the matter.
Modi was in Arunachal Pradesh, parts of which are claimed by China as South Tibet, and Tripura on Thursday.
In Arunuchal Pradesh, Modi participated in three events—the inauguration of the Dorjee Khandu state convention centre in Itanagar, the dedication of the state civil secretariat building and the laying of the foundation stone of the academic block of the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Science, according to Twitter posts by the prime minister.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “China’s position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear-cut. The Chinese government has never recognized the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader’s visit to the disputed area. We will lodge stern representations with the Indian side."
China routinely protests visits by Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh and reiterates its claims over the state.
Geng said China and India had reached an important consensus on properly managing disputes, and that the two sides were working to resolve territorial disputes through negotiation and consultation. “The Chinese side urges the Indian side to honour its commitment and abide by the relevant consensus, and refrain from taking any action that may complicate the boundary question," Geng was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
The sites where the prime minister inaugurated the three projects are “located between the illegal McMahon Line and the traditional customary boundary between China and India, and have always been Chinese territory," he said. The McMahon Line was drawn by Britain in 1914 in an attempt to incorporate the area into Indian territory, Geng added.
The India-China border stretches across 3,488 kilometres. The two sides have held 20 rounds of talks so far through their special representatives to try and resolve the issue, but with little progress.