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NEW DELHI: India and China were involved in another verbal slugfest on Wednesday with the former slamming Beijing for opposing Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh and underlining that the state is an integral and inalienable part of India.

Rejecting remarks by the Chinese foreign ministry on Naidu’s visit, the Indian ministry of external affairs said Indian leaders routinely travelled to Arunachal Pradesh as they do to any other state of India. “Objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to a state of India does not stand to reason and understanding of the Indian people,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
The strong and quick rebuttal also had India recalling that the current situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector of the India-China border areas had been caused by unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo in violation of bilateral agreements.

“Therefore, we expect the Chinese side to work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols rather than trying to link unrelated issues,” said the Indian official.

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Talks between the two countries to resolve the military stand-off in eastern Ladakh seemed to have collapsed earlier this week with both sides blaming each other for the impasse. Claiming Arunachal as a part of south Tibet, China has in the past too objected to visits by Indian leaders there.

Earlier in the day, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said Beijing firmly opposed the visit by Naidu as it never recognised the “so-called Arunachal Pradesh”.

“China’s position on the China-India boundary issue is consistent and clear-cut. The Chinese government has never recognised the ‘so-called Arunachal Pradesh’ established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side and firmly opposes the Indian leader’s visit to this above-mentioned area,” said Zhao Lijian.

He also urged the Indian side to “earnestly respect China’s major concerns, stop taking any action that would complicate and expand the boundary issue, and refrain from undermining mutual trust and bilateral relations. It should instead take real actions to maintain peace and stability in the China-India border area, and help to bring China-India relations back onto the track of sound and steady development,” said the Chinese official.