India, China Spar Over Modi Visit to Himalayan State

New Delhi — India has dismissed China’s objections to a recent visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims is its territory.

The spat is the latest flare-up in a four-year-long military standoff between the two countries’ that shows no signs of easing.

A day after Beijing lodged a diplomatic protest over Modi’s visit, India’s foreign ministry spokesman Randhir Jaiswal said that Chinese objections do not “change the reality that Arunachal Pradesh was and will always be an integral part of India.”

Modi visited the Himalayan state on Saturday to inaugurate a two-lane tunnel built at an elevation of 4,000 meters. It will provide a year-round transportation link to the remote region and facilitate movement of soldiers and military equipment to the border state, where both countries have amassed troops. He also announced several other infrastructure projects that include development of roads and power generation.

New Delhi is also racing to complete several other infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges in the Himalayas as tensions with China persist along their 3,500-kilometer-long border.  

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Monday that Beijing “strongly deplores and firmly opposes” the Indian leader’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as Zangnan, and that “India has no right to arbitrarily develop the area of Zangnan in China.”

He said that “India’s relevant moves will only complicate the boundary question and disrupt the situation in the border areas between the two countries.”

India dismissed the Chinese protests. “Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from time to time, as they visit other states of India. Objecting to such visits or India’s developmental projects does not stand to reason,” Jaiswal said.

China has objected to visits by Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh in the past, but tensions over the region have intensified in the past year. Last August, India lodged a protest with Beijing over reports that China released a new map showing the state as part of its territory. Last April, Beijing renamed 11 places in the state, including rivers and mountain peaks. 

Relations between the Asian giants plummeted to their lowest point in six decades after their troops clashed on the western side of their border in Ladakh in 2020, killing 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers. 

Since then, each side has deployed tens of thousands of troops along their border, backed by fighter jets, artillery and tanks.

“This tension that we have seen for the last four years has not served either of us well,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a media conclave organized by the Indian Express newspaper on Monday.

“So, the sooner we resolve it, I genuinely believe it is good for both of us. I am still very much committed to finding a fair, reasonable outcome.”

Analysts say efforts by the two sides to de-escalate have largely failed. Although soldiers have pulled back from five friction points, the deployment along the border is still huge.

“Ties between India and China continue to be cold and despite 21 rounds of talks between their military commanders since the 2020 clash to discuss withdrawal of troops, there are no signs of a wider pullback,” according to Manoj Joshi, distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.    

your ad here

leave a reply: