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India today rejected China's objection to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the state is an integral part of the country and Indian leaders are as much free to go there as to any other state.
"Arunachal Pradesh is integral part of India and Indian leaders have that much freedom to visit Arunachal as they have in visiting other states in the country," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
"We do not have any confirmed dates for talks as yet. The two sides are in touch. Once we have some dates for it, we will let you know," he said during a media briefing.
During her trip to the state, Sitharaman also visited forward army posts in the remote Anjaw district bordering China to take stock of defence preparedness.
Asked about China's comment yesterday that India's stand on the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is wavering, Kumar said New Delhi's position on the issue is "very clear" and "principled".
"We have seen the releavent remarks. India's position on connectivity is very clear, (it) is principled and is consistent....
"As regards the so called CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), it is also well known that it violates India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Kumar said.
China yesterday said India's stand on its BRI is wavering, and the CPEC, a part of the project, does not involve any territorial dispute as claimed by New Delhi.
China has been reiterating that the USD 50 billion CPEC which traverses through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is a connectivity project and will not affect its stand that the Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan through talks.
Kumar said India will always be open to any efforts which will address its legitimate concerns in this regard.