Arunachal is Indian territory, others’ views don’t matter: Nirmala Sitharaman
Arunachal Pradesh is Indian territory and the opinion of others on the issue is not a concern for India, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday, days after China objected to her visit to the state.
Asked about China’s objection to her recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the defence minister said: “What is the problem? There is no problem here. It is our territory, we will go there.”
“We are not concerned with someone else’s opinion on this,” she added.
Sitharaman visited a forward army post in Arunachal Pradesh on November 5 to take stock of the defence preparedness and the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China had the next day reacted angrily to the visit, saying the visit to the “disputed” region would not be conducive to peace on the border. China has maintained that Arunachal Pradesh is a part of south Tibet, a claim which is not accepted by India.
Asked if the issue of giving shelter to Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees was a bone of contention in India-China relations, the minister said every issue has its own “weight”.
“A relationship can’t be made or broken over one issue. Every subject has its own weight,” she said at a press conference in Gandhinagar.
The minister is campaigning in Gujarat for the coming assembly elections.
On the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Naval officer who was arrested in Pakistan and accused of spying, the minister said India was making all efforts to get him back, and added that if Pakistan allowed his wife to visit him, it would be a good humanitarian gesture.
“The case of Kulbhushan Jadhav is pending in the International Court and India is making all efforts so that he is released. I don’t know what is the position on Pakistan allowing his wife to visit him, but it would be good as a humanitarian consideration, and it will help in boosting his morale,” she said.
Speaking on Jammu and Kashmir, the minister said the state government was taking steps to rein in terrorism, and lauded the state police for its actions.
“In the last one year, you have seen that stone-pelting has almost stopped and I want to give credit to the Jammu and Kashmir Police. The state government is an elected government and they are visiting villages to resolve these issues,” she said.