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Modi visits Arunachal Pradesh, New Delhi reiterates that state is India’s “indivisible” territory

India on Tuesday (March 12) rejected China’s objections as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Arunachal Pradesh over the weekend, reiterating that the region in northeastern India near the India-China border has always been “an integral part of India.”

The day before the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that Beijing firmly opposed Modi’s plan to travel to the region and said that China had sent “stern representations” to India on the matter.

Wang Wenbin also said, “South Tibet is Chinese territory,” and “the Sino-Indian border issue has not yet been resolved, and India has no right to develop China’s southern Tibet area without authorization.” Modi went

to Arunachal Pradesh to attend a basic meeting last Saturday. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to kick off the construction of facility projects, including the construction of the “Sela Tunnel,” known as the world’s longest double-track tunnel. The Indian side claims that this is a strategically important all-weather tunnel leading to Tawang, a key border area.

The Sela Tunnel under construction in Arunachal Pradesh
The Sela Tunnel, under construction in Arunachal Pradesh

One end of the Siler Tunnel is Tezpur in Assam, India, and the other end is Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. After the completion of the tunnel, the transportation time between the two places is expected to be shortened by more than one hour, which can make the movement of Indian troops faster and smoother.

In December 2022, Indian and Chinese armies clashed here.

India denies that Arunachal Pradesh belongs to China’s southern Tibetan territory and insists that this area has always been Indian territory. The region of Arunachal Pradesh is currently under Indian jurisdiction.

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Indian media quoted a statement from the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday as saying, “We object to the comments made by China regarding the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.”

Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jas Randhir Jaiswal said, “Indian leaders have visited Arunachal Pradesh many times, just like they visit other states in India. There is no reason to object to such visits or to oppose development projects in India.”

Moreover, this opposition will not change the fact that Arunachal Pradesh has been, is, and will always be an integral part of India’s territory.”

India and China have a 3,800-kilometer-long border with a complex topography and dispute a lot. In 2020, the armies of the two countries had a serious conflict in the Galwan Valley in the Eastern Ladakh region, resulting in the deaths of at least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers. After that, the armies of the two countries strengthened the strength and equipment of their respective border garrisons and consolidated their respective defensive positions.

The two countries also had a large-scale border conflict in 1962.

In 2023, China gave Chinese names to 11 locations in Arunachal Pradesh, exacerbating tensions between China and India.

Recently, the Indian army has carried out large-scale mobilization. About 10,000 troops have been transferred from the western border of India to the disputed border between India and China in the east. They are stationed at the long-distance border between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in northern India and China. The border reaches 532 kilometers.

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China reacts sensitively to this. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a regular press conference on March 8 that India’s action “is not conducive to maintaining peace and tranquility in the Sino-Indian border areas and is not in line with the consensus of both sides to jointly ease border tensions.”

India Defense Minister Rajnath Singh made a strong statement in New Delhi last week: “Once any country attacks India, whether from land, air, or sea, our troops will respond firmly.”

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