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'Doesn't stand to reason': India rejects China's remarks on PM Modi's visit to Arunachal Pradesh

PM Modi inaugurated the bi-lane Sela Tunnel on Saturday in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh over the weekend. China claims the region as Zangnan or South Tibet, and criticised PM Modi's visit to the state, saying that such unilateral actions will complicate the border dispute.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Updated on: March 12, 2024 11:11 IST
India, China, Arunachal Pradesh, border dispute
Image Source : PTI The Chinese foreign ministry rejected PM Modi's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

New Delhi: India on Tuesday strongly rejected Chinese remarks objecting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying these Indian leaders visit the state from time to time and China's remarks over such visits or developmental projects "does not stand to reason". This came after as the Chinese foreign ministry criticised PM Modi’s visit and "rejected" India’s claim over the region.

In an official statement, the Ministry of External Affairs asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an "integral and inalienable" part of India, and Chinese authorities have been informed of this position on several occasions. "We reject the comments made by the Chinese side regarding the visit of the Prime Minister to Arunachal Pradesh. Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from time to time, as they visit other States of India," said MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal.

"Objecting to such visits or India's developmental projects does not stand to reason. Further, it will not change the reality that the State of Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Chinese side has been made aware of this consistent position on several occasions," he added.

What did China say on PM Modi's visit?

PM Modi inaugurated the bi-lane Sela Tunnel, which was built at an estimated cost of Rs 825 crore, on Saturday in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh on the road linking Tawang to Assam's Tezpur. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Zangnan or South Tibet. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin criticised PM Modi’s visit and "rejected" India’s claim over the region. 

"The China-India border issue remains unresolved. India has no right to unilaterally develop Zangnan, which belongs to China. India's actions will only further complicate the border issue and create negative disturbance in the border areas of the two countries. China strongly opposes and deplores the activities of the Indian leader in the eastern section of the China-India border and has made solemn complaints with India," he said.

Wang also rejected external interference in resource development in the South China Sea, which he deemed as a matter only between China and the coastal ASEAN countries. Notably, India and China fought a war along the border in 1962. The latest dispute flared in June 2020, when at least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops were killed in a brawl in the Ladakh region. Despite several talks, the relations between India and China remain frozen.

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. 

About the world's longest twin-lane Sela Tunnel

The foundation of the project was laid by the prime minister in February 2019, with a cost estimation of Rs 697 crore, but work got delayed due to various reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic. This also increased overall costs. The construction work started in April 2019 and the first blast took place at Tunnel 2 on October 31 of the same year.

The project comprises two tunnels, with the first being a single-tube tunnel of 980 metres in length, and the second being 1.5 km long with an escape tube for emergencies. The BRO is engaged in constructing 7.1 km of approach roads to the tunnel, 1,340 metres of approach roads to tunnel 2 and 1.3 km of roads between the two tunnels. The Sela tunnel has been constructed with the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) and the final breakthrough in tunnel 1 was recorded on January 22.

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.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | 'India has no right to develop...': China after PM Modi inaugurates Sela Tunnel connecting Assam to Arunachal


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