New Delhi: After China expressed anger over Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month, the government on Thursday reasserted that the northeastern state is an integral part of India.
"As you all know, Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in his weekly media briefing here.
"Indian leaders have all the right and freedom to visit Arunachal Pradesh as they have to visit any other part of India," he stated.
On Sunday, Sitharaman paid a visit to Army posts in remote Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China which considers the northeastern Indian state as its own and calls it South Tibet.
Accompanied by Indian Army officers, Sitharaman took stock of the defence preparedness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Following this, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing that "we must be very clear about this that there is a dispute on the eastern section of China-India boundary".
"This visit by the India side to the disputed area is not conducive to the peace and tranquility of the relevant region. We hope the Indian side will work with the Chinese side to continue to make a contribution to properly resolving the boundary issue through dialogue and create enabling atmosphere and condition for this," Hua said.
China expresses anger whenever any Indian minister or foreign dignitary visits Arunachal Pradesh.
In April, ties between India and China took a hit when Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh.