China protests to India over PM Modi's visit to Arunachal Pradesh

China, which claims Arunachal as South Tibet, routinely objects to Indian leaders' visits to the state it calls 'Zangnan'

PM Narendra Modi in Itanagar on 9 March (photo: PTI)
PM Narendra Modi in Itanagar on 9 March (photo: PTI)


China on Monday said it lodged a diplomatic protest with India over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh last week, reiterating its claim over the area by saying India's moves will "only complicate" the unresolved boundary question.

PM Modi on Saturday dedicated to the nation the Sela Tunnel built at an altitude of 13,000 feet in Arunachal Pradesh that will provide all-weather connectivity to strategically located Tawang, and is expected to ensure better movement of troops along the frontier region.

The Rs 825 crore tunnel, constructed on the road connecting Assam's Tezpur to West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, is being billed as the longest bi-lane road tunnel in the world at such an altitude.

The Sela tunnel will provide for better movement of troops and weaponry to various forward locations along the line of actual control (LAC) with China, according to military officials.

China, which claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, routinely objects to Indian leaders' visits to the state to highlight its claims. Beijing has also named the area as Zangnan.

India has repeatedly rejected China’s territorial claims over Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the state is an integral part of the country. New Delhi has also dismissed Beijing's move to assign "invented" names to the area, saying it did not alter the reality.

Asked by official media in Beijing about Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh at a media briefing on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, "Zangnan area is Chinese territory." The Chinese government has "never recognised the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ illegally set up by India, and firmly opposes it,” he added.

The China-India boundary question has yet to be solved. “India has no right to arbitrarily develop the area of Zangnan in China. India’s relevant moves will only complicate the boundary question and disrupt the situation in the border areas between the two countries,” Wang said.

“China strongly deplores and firmly opposes the Indian leader's visit to the east section of the China-India boundary. We have made solemn representations to India," Wang added.

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