Beijing: China today summoned Indian Ambassador here and lodged a protest over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying it “undermined China's territorial sovereignty, right and interests”.
In the second Chinese protest in as many days, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin “called in” Indian envoy Ashok Kantha to lodge the protest on Modi's visit yesterday to the “disputed border region”, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
“Liu expressed ‘strong dissatisfaction and staunch opposition' to the Indian side's insistence on arranging the visit by its leader to the disputed area on China-India border,” the report said.
The Chinese embassy in India had lodged representation with the Indian authorities on the visit last night, the Xinhua report said.
During the meeting with Kantha, Liu said that Modi's visit “undermined China's territorial sovereignty, right and interests”.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet. This has been contested by India which has maintained that the north-eastern state is its integral part.
Liu said “such act by the Indian side artificially amplified differences between the two countries on the border issue and thus went against the principles and consensus that the two sides reached on properly addressing the issue,” the report said.
He reiterated that China which has consistent and clear-cut stance on the border issue “never recognised the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh' unilaterally set up by the Indian side”.
“It's a universally recognised, un-evadable fact that significant disputes do exist on the eastern section of the China-India border,” Liu said.
While China routinely protests and criticises high level Indian visits to Arunachal Pradesh, the twin protests over Modi's visit came in the midst of the two countries improving relations with a host of initiatives including steps to improve relations between the troops patrolling the border.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Beijing early this month and held talks with President Xi Jinping and other officials, especially about Modi's planned visit to China in May this year.
Special Representatives for border negotiations on both sides, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi are expected to meet in the next few weeks to hold the 18th round of talks to resolve the vexed dispute.
The Chinese position is that the border dispute is confined to 2,000 kms mostly in Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covers the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 kms including Aksai Chin area in Ladakh occupied by China in the 1962 border war.