Days after US ambassador to India Richard Verma visited Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, Beijing has lodged a protest through diplomatic channels with New Delhi as well as Washington over the envoy’s visit, sources said.
China on Monday said it is “firmly opposed” to Verma’s visit and urged the US to “stop its interference” in the boundary issue between China and India.
New Delhi said there is “nothing unusual” in the envoy’s visit. “The US Ambassador visited Arunachal Pradesh, a state which is an integral part of the country to which he is accredited. There is nothing unusual in it,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, in response to the remarks by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet and routinely protests visits by Indian leaders, foreign officials as well as the Dalai Lama to the area.
In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Monday said, “We have also noted that the place visited by the senior US diplomatic official is a disputed region between China and India. We are firmly opposed to his visit.”
“China’s position on eastern section of the China-India boundary is very clear and consistent. The two countries are now trying to resolve territorial disputes through negotiations and consultations…any third party with a sense of responsibility should respect efforts made by China and India for peaceful reconciliation and tranquility rather than the opposite,” he said.
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The behaviour by the US contrasts the efforts made by China and India, he said. “It will only make the dispute more complicated, disturb the hard-won peace and tranquility of border areas and sabotage peaceful development of the region,” Lu said, adding that, “We urge the US to stop its interference in the boundary issue between China and India and make more contribution to regional peace and stability.”
Last week, Verma had visited Tawang and had expressed his gratitude to the people of Arunachal Pradesh for their “hospitality” during the three-day Tawang festival.Verma tweeted a photograph with Arunachal CM Pema Khandu and Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal.