China revives claims on Indian territory
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
New Delhi, April 5, IRNA
The Indian frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh Tuesday reacted strongly to China's claims of the region being a "disputed area", officials told IRNA Tuesday.
China's envoy to New Delhi, Sun Yuxi, Friday raked up a controversy ahead of the landmark visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao saying the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh was still "a disputed area" between India and China.
"China's claims and the statement made by its ambassador to India are erroneous to say the least.
There is no dispute whatsoever and Arunachal Pradesh is very much an integral part of India," Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister Jarbom Gamlin said.
Beijing in 2003 gave up its territorial claim over the Indian state of Sikkim but was still holding on to its age-old stand that a vast stretch of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to China.
"We have lodged a formal protest with the Indian Foreign Ministry over the Chinese ambassador's statement," Gamlin said.
"The people of Arunachal Pradesh do whatever is required to protect and preserve its territorial integrity."
The mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,030-km (650-mile) unfenced border with China.
The China-India border along Arunachal Pradesh is separated by the McMahon Line, an imaginary border which is now known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India and China fought a bitter border war in 1962, with Chinese troops advancing deep into Arunachal Pradesh and inflicting heavy casualties on federal 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 recognized the 1914 boundary, known as the McMahon Line, and claims 90,000 square kilometers (34,750 square miles) -- nearly all -- of Arunachal Pradesh.
India also accuses China of occupying 8,000 square kilometers (14,670 square miles) in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil Tuesday is visiting the border with China along Arunachal Pradesh.
"I would not like to comment on the Chinese ambassador's statement," Patil told journalists before leaving for the border from state capital Itanagar.
Patil's visit is being described as a routine, familiarization trip to the border areas.
The Arunachal Pradesh government has from time to time been warning New Delhi about Chinese troops making regular forays across the highly sensitive international borders.
Indian intelligence officials last year reported Chinese-built mule tracks near the Kayela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh's Dibang Valley district, bordering China's Tibet region.
After the 1962 Sino-Indian war, tension flared up once again in 1986 with Indian and Chinese forces clashing in the Sumdorong Chu valley of Arunachal Pradesh.
The Chinese troops have reportedly constructed a helipad in the valley leading to fresh skirmish along the borders during that time.
::IRNA No.035 05/04/2005 14:22 --End
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