April 7, 2009 8:26:18 am
After complaining against Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs visit to Arunachal Pradesh,China is now learnt to have objected to President Pratibha Patils tour of the state last week that included a visit to Tawang.
While there is no official word yet,sources confirmed that Beijing has taken up the matter with New Delhi which has reaffirmed its stand that Arunachal is an integral part of the country and leaders are free to travel to any part of the state. The other side is well aware of our clear and consistent position, official sources here said.
Patil visited Arunachal Pradesh during her four-day North East tour last week and went to Tawang,which China has staked claim to several times in the past. Patil,also as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces,visited the War Memorial for Indian soldiers who died in the 1962 war with China and interacted with troops on the border.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson indicated the country was not pleased. The two sides should make joint efforts to effectively carry out the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries,to ensure the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations,he said in Beijing,in response to questions on Patils visit.
Beijings complaint against a PM visit in February last year snowballed into a controversy,prompting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to reaffirm that the PM has the right to visit any part of the country.
Beijing is especially sensitive about Tawang that was briefly occupied by the Chinese Army after the 1962 war. Several senior Indian ministers,including Defence Minster A K Antony,have visited Arunachal over the past few years. While the PM avoided a visit to Tawang,Antony visited the region in March and addressed troops on the border.
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