M A I N   N E W S

Arunachal Pradesh ours, says Pranab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
With India firmly rejecting the claim of the Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Yuxi in a television interview that Beijing considers Arunachal Pradesh as its territory, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee categorically said today that the state was an integral part of India.

Mr Mukherjee made it clear that the position of India and China with regard to Arunachal Pradesh was well known.

The Ambassador’s remark has cast a shadow on the upcoming visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao from November 20-23.

Mr Mukherjee’s rebuttal of the Chinese Ambassador’s claims has rekindled an issue that has been at the centre of the vexed border issue between the two countries.

“The whole of Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India,” he reaffirmed at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, the proposed new headquarters of his ministry.

The Chinese envoy had told CNN-IBN: “In our position the whole of the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory. And Tawang is only one of the places in it. We are claiming all of that. That is our position.”

The Ambassador’s gambit of alluding to Arunachal Pradesh as part of his country’s territory, virtually on the eve of Mr Hu’s visit to this country and when the two countries are striving for a new political will to resolve the protracted border issue, has not gone well with the high-profile External Affairs Ministry preparing for the Chinese President’s visit.

Arunachal Pradesh Governor S.K. Singh, a former Foreign Secretary, disapproved the Ambassador’s comments, observing that it was an “arrogant” way of holding negotiations. “This an arrogant way of negotiation from China. The Chinese have done this before. It is an odd way,” Mr Singh said.

India regards Arunachal Pradesh as an “inalienable” part of this country and insists that the state’s status was not on the negotiating table even as special representatives of the two countries have held eight round of talks to resolve the issue.

Sources said the border issue would be discussed between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr Hu even as the Chinese are keen that the visit focusses on intensification of trade and investment.

A Chinese Head of State is visiting India after a decade. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had visited India last year which facilitated in evolving the guiding principles and political parameters for resolving the border dispute.

On the Siachen issue being close to a settlement as suggested by Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Mr Mukherjee said New Delhi had made it clear that the issue could be settled promptly if Islamabad agreed to its terms.

The EAM explained that India wanted proper authentication of the present top positions of the two countries at the world’s highest battlefield.

Sources in the EAM said there were no indications as yet about Pakistan’s acceptance of those terms.



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