China's ambassador to India reiterated his country's claim to a wide swath of northeastern India, prompting a sharp rebuke from Indian officials yesterday, barely a week before the Chinese president travels to India on a state visit.
India and China fought a war in 1962 over India's Arunachal Pradesh state and the Aksai Chin region of Jammu-Kashmir.
China grabbed territory in both areas in the war, but did not get all it wanted.
Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi (孫玉璽) repeated the claim in an interview broadcast on Monday night, telling the CNN-IBN news channel that "the whole of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh is the Chinese territory. ... We are claiming the whole of that."
Early yesterday Indian officials struck back.
"Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India," Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.
"The important thing is that the raising of the issue just before the Chinese president's visit does not add to the climate that should be positive," said Sujit Dutta, an expert on Chinese affairs who is associated with the government-run Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (
India and China have long had adversarial relations. Their territorial dispute covers 125,000km2 of land along their mountainous frontier.