Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a significant development, China has reacted mildly to President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, part of which is claimed by Beijing as its own territory.
This is in sharp contrast to China’s earlier stance of criticising top-level visits to Arunachal Pradesh by Indian leaders.
Yesterday, Beijing only said that it hoped India would not take any "actions that complicate the boundary question".
It further stressed on the "sound momentum" in bilateral ties and efforts by both the countries to resolve the border dispute.
"We hope that the Indian side could meet China halfway to safeguard the overall interests of bilateral relations, refrain from taking actions that complicate the boundary question, work together with us to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas and create conditions for boundary negotiations," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, after Mukherjee arrived in Arunachal Pradesh for a two-day visit.
"China-India relationship maintains a sound momentum of growth, with the two sides exploring ways to solve the boundary question through friendly consultations at the special representatives` meeting," the ministry statement added.
Beijing yesterday reiterated that its position on the "disputed area of the eastern section of the China-India boundary is consistent and clear-cut".
Experts have noted the Chinese reaction with satisfaction as in 2009, Beijing had reacted strongly to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying it was "deeply upset" about his tour to the "disputed region".
In the past, China never minced words in conveying its protests and concerns whenever Indian leaders or the Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing has also opposed Asian Development Bank funding for water projects in the northeastern Indian state.