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China denies visa to IAS officer

CNN-IBN
Jun 20, 2007 at 11:35am IST

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New Delhi: The Sino-Indian spat over Arunachal Pradesh has taken a new twist. The government has cancelled a trip for 107 IAS officers to China for a mid-career training programme.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that China refused to give a visa to one officer in the batch who is from Arunachal Pradesh.

They were prepared to give visas to the others. But the government preferred to cancel the visit altogether.

This is the first time IAS officers were to be sent to China.

China's denial of a visa to a government official from Arunachal once again reinforces its claim over the entire state and not just the disputed tract of Tawang.

Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Yuxi first went public with that extremely controversial claim on CNN IBN last year.

“In our position the whole of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory and Tawang (district) is only one place in it and we are claiming all of that-that's our position,” Sun Yuxi had said.

Long march to settlement

China cites the Tawang Monastery, one of the last vestiges of Mahayana Buddhism, as evidence that the mountainous district of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh once belonged to Tibet and that India should hand it back to help settle the row.

The dispute over the 3,500-km India-China border led to the 1962 war. New Delhi disputes Beijing's rule over 38,000 sq km of barren, icy and uninhabited land on the Tibetan plateau, which China seized from India in the 1962 war.

China, for its part, claims 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh.

Within that disputed area is Tawang and its monastery. The neighbours have held several rounds of talks since 1981 to resolve the dispute but have so far failed to make progress.

Last year, they agreed on an 11-point roadmap to settle the border row in light of booming bilateral trade and growing ties.

The proposal was seen as an attempt towards accepting the status quo and hammering out a swap whereby China would give up claims in the east in return for India's recognition of Chinese sovereignty in the strategic Aksai Chin area in the west.

Although both sides seemed amenable to such a deal, Beijing's demand for Tawang - and India's refusal to part with any populated territories - has created a stumbling block.

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