Hours after China objected to the recent visit of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to Arunachal Pradesh, saying that it is firmly opposed to the Indian leader’s visit to the state as it has never recognised it, the MEA rejected Beijing’s opposition.

Calling Arunachal Pradesh an integral and inalienable part of India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said “Indian leaders routinely travel to the State as they do to any other state of India”. “Objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to an Indian state does not stand to reason and understanding of Indian people,” MEA spokesperson said.

Naidu had visited Arunachal Pradesh on October 9 and addressed a special session of the state assembly. China routinely opposes visits of Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh as it claims the Indian state is part of South Tibet.

Replying to a question from CCP mouthpiece Global Times about Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China has never recognised the state. “China doesn’t recognize the so-called Arunachal Pradesh illegally set by India and firmly opposes the recent visit of India’s vice president M Venkaiah Naidu to the area,” he said.

He further claimed that the area is called Zangnan in China. Zhao further urged the Indian side to respect China’s major concerns, stop taking any action that would complicate and expand the boundary issue and refrain from undermining mutual trust and bilateral relations.

This development comes after India and China failed to make any headway in resolving the 17-month standoff in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh. Issuing a statement, the Indian Army on Monday had said its suggestions at the 13th round of military talks were neither agreeable to the Chinese side nor could provide any “forward-looking” proposals.