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China Opposes Modi’s Border Move to Allow Faster Troop Access

China criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of a tunnel that will give Indian troops easy access to areas close to the disputed border between the two countries.

Construction of the Sela tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh state in 2021.
Construction of the Sela tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh state in 2021.

 

China criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of a tunnel that will give Indian troops easy access to areas close to the disputed border between the two countries.

Beijing lodged a diplomatic protest with New Delhi over the development in India’s northeastern Arunachal Pradesh region, an area China calls Zangnan and claims as its own. 

“The Chinese government has never recognized the so-called Arunchal Pradesh locally set up by India, and we firmly oppose this,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters Monday in a regular briefing.

Modi was in the region’s capital Itanagar on Saturday, where he unveiled the Sela tunnel during a video ceremony, dedicating it to the development of India’s northeastern states. The tunnel, built under the Sela pass at about 13,700 feet, is expected to aid movement of troops to locations along the Line of Actual Control, an area that is disputed between the two nations.

“The China-India boundary question has yet to be solved. India has no right to arbitrarily develop the area of Zangnan in China,” Wang said.

China has consistently opposed India’s development projects and visits by Indian leaders in the region. “India’s relevant moves will only complicate the boundary question. China is strongly dissatisfied with this and firmly opposed to the leader’s visit to the eastern section of the China-India boundary,” the ministry’s spokesman added.

Modi said on the weekend that the tunnel “provides all-weather connectivity to our people in Tawang, making transportation easier for the locals and boosting tourism in Arunachal.” Addressing a gathering in Itanagar, Modi said “several such tunnel projects are rapidly progressing in this region.”

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