New Delhi: Highly-placed government sources here have reacted sharply to Chinese remarks that India should refrain from taking any action that could "complicate" the border issue.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had "asked India to work with China to maintain peace and stability in border areas" after Defence Minister AK Antony visited Arunachal Pradesh for its statehood celebrations.
Reacting to the remarks, government sources reiterated that Arunachal Pradesh is a part of India and that it was not the first time Antony had visited the northeastern state.
Hong stated that China advocates seeking a fair and rational solution through equal and friendly negotiations, adding Bejing`s stance on Sino-Indian border issues, including disputes regarding the eastern section, has been consistent and clear-cut.
In his speech at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Arunachal Pradesh at Itanagar on February 20, Antony had said, "We are aware of the challenges which people living in border areas face and it is our collective duty to ensure that our border areas are developed as any other part of the country."
Referring to the highly-sensitive nature of the state, he said that the importance of a secure, non-porous international border must continue to be the topmost priority area of the Centre.
"Arunachalees have always been known to be fiercely patriotic and yield to none in their love for the motherland," he had said.
China routinely takes exception to any high level visits of Indian officials to Arunachal Pradesh which it claims is a part of Southern Tibet. It was part of the discussion of the past 15 rounds of border talks by the Special Representatives by the two countries.
China also denies visa to people of Arunachal Pradesh as part of its claim to the area.
In a recent case, visa was denied to a senior Indian Air Force officer to visit China as part of defence delegation prompting New Delhi to scale down the size of the delegation.
(With agency inputs)