New Delhi: Asserting that Arunachal Pradesh was India's “integral and inalienable” part, Government today said Indian leaders visit that state as they visit other parts of the country, four days after China raised a strong protest over Prime Minister Narendra Modi going to that state.
“The state of Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. The people of Arunachal Pradesh are citizens of India. Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from time to time, as they visit other parts of India,” Spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said.
He was replying to a query if there was any chance that India will give a strong reply to China on Arunachal Pradesh issue after it commented on Modi's visit to that state.
The Spokesperson was answering questions during a live ‘Q&A' session on Facebook.
Expressing its “diametrical opposition” to Modi's visit to Arunachal, China had lodged a strong protest with India, saying it was not conducive for resolving the border dispute.
China claims the northern part of the state as a part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a claim rejected by India.
Modi had visit Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month to participate in the state's 29th foundation day and also flagged off the Naharlagun-New Delhi Express by pressing a button at a function held in state capital Itanagar.
The development is significant given that both countries are preparing for Modi's visit to Beijing in May.
To a separate question on response to ‘Visit India Year 2015' launched by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Beijing, the Spokesperson said, “It is less than a month since the Visit India Year 2015 was launched in Beijing. The first data will come in March. We expect an increase in tourists.”
During the 45-minute Facebook session, the Spokesperson received about 1300 questions ranging from job opportunities in India to consular issues to government welfare schemes. He responded to over 20 questions.