29th meeting of WMCC on India-China Border Affairs held at Beijing

Kohima: Meeting conducted amid series of exchange of words between the two sides

BY | Thursday, 28 March, 2024

The 29th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs was held on 27 March 2024 in Beijing, the Ministry of External Affairs informed on Thursday.

During the meeting, the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on how to achieve complete disengagement and resolve the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector of India-China border areas.

According to the Ministry’s press release, both sides agreed to maintain regular contact through diplomatic and military channels and on the need to uphold peace and tranquility on the ground in the border areas in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and protocols.

The Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry while the Chinese delegation was led by Director General of the Boundary & Oceanic Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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This meeting follows a series of word exchanges that took place recently between the two sides.

On 11th March 2024, replying to a question on the newly inaugurated Sela Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh, Chinese Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed that ‘Zangnan’ (Chinese name for Arunachal Pradesh) is Chinese territory and said that the “Chinese government has never recognized the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh” illegally set up by India and firmly opposes it.”

The Spokesperson also condemned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the “eastern sector of the China-India boundary”.

On 12th March, MEA’s Official Spokesperson, Randhir Jaiswal rejected the remarks of Wang Wenbin, stating Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from time to time, as they visit other States of India. Objecting to such visits or India’s developmental projects does not stand to reason. Further, it will not change the reality that the State of Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.”

On 15th March 2024, Spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang reiterated that ‘Zangnan’ is China’s inherent territory, and that China never recognizes and firmly opposes India’s illegal establishment of the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh”.

“Currently, the overall situation in the China-India border areas is stable,” but India’s actions are contrary to the efforts of both sides to ease the border situation and are not conducive to maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas. The Chinese military remains highly vigilant and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Xiaogang.

On 19th March, Jaiswal said that India has noted the comments made by the Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesperson and stated, “Repeating baseless arguments in this regard does not lend such claims any validity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Its people will continue to benefit from our development programmes and infrastructure projects.”

On 23rd March, speaking at a programme in Singapore, Union Minister Dr S Jaishankar asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is a natural part of India. “This is not a new issue. I mean China has laid claim, it has expanded its claim. The claims are ludicrous to begin with and remain ludicrous today,” Jaishankar had said.

On 25th March, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Lin Jian said, “the China-India boundary has never been delimited and is divided into the eastern sector, the middle sector, the western sector, and Sikkim sector.” He claimed that Zangnan (Arunachal Pradesh) in the eastern sector has always been China’s territory and that China had all along exercised effective administrative jurisdiction over Zangnan until India’s illegal occupation.

Further, the Spokesperson had alleged that in 1987, India formed the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh” on China’s territory under India’s illegal occupation which China firmly opposed and declared it illegal and null and void. Jian them said that China’s position remains unchanged.

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