China criticises Indian minister’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh

Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah says all Indians can sleep peacefully in their homes thanks to the hard work of the security forces.

Amit Shah says border areas are the 'first priority' of the Indian government [File: Amit Dave/Reuters]

China firmly opposes a visit by India’s home minister to Arunachal Pradesh and views his activities in the area as violating Beijing’s territorial sovereignty, a foreign ministry spokesperson has said.

China has renamed some places in what India regards as its eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, and Beijing claims that those areas are part of its territory.

“Zangnan is China’s territory,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday in response to a question about the visit by India’s Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah.

“The Indian official’s visit to Zangnan violates China’s territorial sovereignty, and is not conducive to the peace and tranquility of the border situation.”

Speaking at the launch of a programme called “Vibrant Villages” in Kibithoo, the border village of Arunachal Pradesh, Shah was quoted as saying by local media that the entire country could sleep peacefully in their homes thanks to the hard work of the security forces on India’s borders.

Border areas are the “first priority” of the Indian government, the home minister said.

“Times when anyone could encroach on Indian land have passed. Today no one can even occupy land equal to a needle point,” he added.

Name change attempt

China and India have had several skirmishes over the disputed border area, and clashes in mountainous regions in recent years have seriously strained ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

The two countries fought a war along parts of their poorly demarcated 3,800km (2,360-mile) frontier in 1962, and clashes in mountainous regions in recent years have further strained relations.

The latest trade of barbs between the neighbours was triggered early in April when China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a statement in which it said it had “standardised” the names of 11 places, including five mountains, in what China calls its southern Tibet region.

The statement included a map that showed the 11 places renamed by China as being within “Zangnan”, or southern Tibet in Chinese, with Arunachal Pradesh included in southern Tibet and China’s border with India demarcated as just north of the Brahmaputra river.

India’s foreign ministry rejected the move, with a spokesman saying: “Arunachal Pradesh is, has been and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies