Arunachal irked at PM’s silence on Chinese claim

Himalayan News Service

Itanagar, April 22:

Politicians from Arunachal Pradesh are lobbying in New Delhi to put pressure on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to formally reject China’s claims that the northeastern state was a disputed area. China’s envoy to New Delhi, Sun Yuxi, this month raked up a controversy saying Arunachal Pradesh was still “a disputed area” between India and China. “We are surprised at our prime minister’s silence on China’s absurd claims,” said Tapir Gao, a Bharatiya Janata Party MP in the Lok Sabha. Gao said he wanted a clarification on India’s stand on Arunachal Pradesh. “It appears the Indian government is trying to barter Arunachal Pradesh with China in lieu of Sikkim,” Gao told this daily by telephone from New Delhi. Gao and other politicians from Arunachal Pradesh are trying to drum up support to pressurise the prime minister into making a formal statement on the issue. “We are in touch with senior BJP and Congress leaders, besides other opposition MPs to lobby in parliament,” Gao said. In 2003, Beijing gave up its territorial claim over Sikkim but continues to maintain that a vast stretch of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to it. Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,030-km unfenced border with China.

The Sino-India border along Arunachal Pradesh is separated by the McMahon Line, which is now known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). India and China fought a border war in 1962, with Chinese troops advancing deep into Arunachal Pradesh. China has never recognized the 1914 boundary, known as the McMahon Line, and claims 90,000 sq km — nearly all of Arunachal Pradesh. India also accuses China of occupying 8,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir. “India should not repeat the mistake once again by remaining silent on the Chinese claims,” another Arunachal politician said. Several pressure groups, tribal students’ organisations and the Congress-ruled state government have voiced their anger over the Chinese claims.