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Govt silent on Chinese incursion in Arunachal
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17
The government today maintained total silence on reports of a Chinese incursion in Arunachal Pradesh even as Beijing denied such reports.

There was no reaction from either the Ministry of External Affairs or the Ministry of Defence on a report put up on its website by the Internet edition of a national daily today which said that a Chinese Army patrol allegedly intruded deep into Indian territory last week and stayed there for close to 24 hours before withdrawing.

According to this report, the border violation took place in Asafila area of the Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. This is the same area where on June 26, 2003, a Chinese Army team had allegedly intruded into India, stripped Indian intelligence officials of personal weapons and held them hostage for several hours.

“I feel astonished by your question because of some mixed information. I don’t think that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will enter Indian territory,” a PTI report from Beijing quoted the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying. The PTI report also attributed the following remark to the Chinese spokesman: “As for the specifics you mentioned, I have to further confirm it.”

South Block sources said on condition of anonymity that Chinese incursions in Arunachal Pradesh were nothing unusual. The Chinese have been using these incursions as subtle reminders to New Delhi that Arunachal was a “disputed territory”. Moreover, the Chinese have been known to be turning the heat on Arunachal to extract concessions from India on Aksai Chin sector—another disputed territory on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Aksai Chin area is of much more strategic importance to Beijing because it is close to the Chinese soft underbelly—Tibet.

Sources said India has rarely gone public in its protests against Chinese incursions and the latest incursion is going to dealt in a similar manner.

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