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India warns Beijing against ‘further complicating’ bilateral relationship

Days after the Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi wrote to several Indian MPs asking them to “refrain from providing support to the ‘Tibetan independent’ forces”, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday termed the “substance, tone and tenor” of the letter as “inappropriate”.

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New Delhi: In response to the numerous provocations by China over the past weeks, including commenting on Indian MPs attending a Tibetan Government-in-Exile event, India on Thursday warned Beijing against “further complicating” the bilateral relationship. 

Days after the Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi wrote to several Indian MPs asking them to “refrain from providing support to the ‘Tibetan independent’ forces”, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday termed the “substance, tone and tenor” of the letter as “inappropriate”.

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MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, at the weekly media briefing, said in response to the letter: “We have seen reports about the political counsellor at the Chinese embassy writing letters to Hon’ble Members of Parliament on their participation at an event. The substance, tone and tenor of the letter are inappropriate.”

In an obvious jibe at Communist China, he said that “China should note that India is a vibrant democracy” and that the MPs as representatives of the people “undertake activities as per their views and beliefs”.

“We expect the Chinese side to refrain from hyping normal activities by the Hon’ble Members of Parliament and complicate further the situation in our bilateral relations”, he added.

Separately, in reference to China renaming places in Arunachal Pradesh, the spokesperson slammed Beijing for its “ridiculous exercise to support untenable territorial claims” and expressed hope that it would instead work constructively with India to resolve the outstanding friction points on the LAC.

“We had seen reports of the Chinese side naming some places in Arunachal Pradesh last week. We had also conveyed our views on such a ridiculous exercise to support untenable territorial claims.

“Calling Tuting as “DouDeng” or River Siyom as “XiYueMu” or even Kibithu as “Daba” does not alter the fact that Arunachal Pradesh has always been and will always remain an inalienable part of India,” he said.

“We hope that instead of engaging in such antics China will work constructively with us to resolve the outstanding friction points in areas along the Western Sector of the LAC in India-China border areas,” the spokesperson added.

On December 30, India had similarly slammed China for attempting to rename places in Arunachal Pradesh, stating that “assigning invented names” by Beijing will not alter the fact that the state is an inalienable part of India.Reacting to reports of a bridge being built by China on the Pangong Tso Lake, the spokesperson said that it is being done in areas that are under “illegal occupation of China for around 60 years”.

Bagchi said India is likewise taking all necessary steps to ensure that its security interests are fully protected.“As regards reports about a bridge being made by the Chinese side on Pangong lake, Government has been monitoring this activity closely. This bridge is being constructed in areas that have been under illegal occupation by China for around 60 years now.“As you are well aware India has never accepted such illegal occupation,” he said.“Separately, Government has been taking all necessary steps to ensure that our security interests are fully protected.“As part of these efforts, Government has also, in the last seven years, increased significantly the budget for development of border infrastructure and completed more roads and bridges than ever before. These have provided much needed connectivity to local population as well as logistical support to armed forces. Government remains committed to this objective,” he added.Reports of Beijing’s bridge building activity went viral on social media, with some experts showing satellite imagery pictures suggesting that China may be constructing a bridge across the lake.

Last month, Zhou Yongsheng, the Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, had written to several Indian MPs who had attended the Tibetan Government in Exile event, asking them to “refrain from providing support to the ‘Tibetan independent’ forces” and instead ”make contributions to China-India bilateral relations”.

He went on to claim that Tibet has been “an inseparable part of China since ancient times, and Tibet related affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference.”

In response, the Tibetan government in exile rejected Beijing’s contention that Tibet has always been a part of China and said that since the illegal and violent occupation of Tibet, China has oppressed the Tibetans under its brutal and draconian policy.

The Tibetan Government in Exile in a statement “vehemently condemned” the letters written by the Political Counsellor ticking off the Indian MPs who had attended a dinner reception hosted by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on December 22.

“Historically Tibet has never been a part of China. Since the illegal and violent occupation of Tibet, China has oppressed the Tibetans under its brutal and draconian policy.”

It said that Tibetans living inside Tibet are deprived of their fundamental rights and the situation inside Tibet remains grim till date.

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