China Protests PM Modi’s Visit To Arunachal, Says ‘Zangnan Area Is Chinese Territory’

China on Monday said it had lodged a diplomatic protest with India over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh last week. Beijing reiterated its claim over the Indian state by saying New Delhi’s moves will “only complicate” the boundary question.

Prime Minister Modi on Saturday visited Arunachal Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections and dedicated the Sela Tunnel, built at an altitude of 13,000 feet, to provide all-weather connectivity to strategically located Tawang.

The 825-crore Sela tunnel, constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), is expected to ensure better movement of troops along the frontier region. 

The tunnel has been constructed on the road connecting Assam’s Tezpur to West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and is being billed as the longest bi-lane road tunnel in the world at such an altitude. It will provide for better movement of troops and weaponry to various forward locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, according to military officials.

Asked by the official media about Modi’s visit to Arunachal at a press briefing in Beijing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said “Zangnan area is Chinese territory”.

“China never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh illegally set up by India and firmly opposes it,” Wenbin said.

The China-India boundary question has yet to be resolved. India has no right to arbitrarily develop the area of Zangnan in China, he said.

“Relevant moves by India only complicate the boundary question. China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to the leader’s visit to the eastern section of the China-India boundary,” he said.

“We have made solemn representations to India,” Wang added.

China, which claims Arunachal as South Tibet, has routinely objected to Indian leaders’ visits to the state to highlight its claims. Beijing has also named the area as Zangnan.

New Delhi has repeatedly rejected China’s territorial claims over Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the state is an integral part of the Indian territory.

India has also dismissed Beijing’s move to assign “invented” names to the area, saying it did not alter the reality.

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