Khandu counters China's ''no'' to Pranab statement

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Itanagar, Nov 13 (UNI) Barely a day after China's reported disagreement to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's remark on Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said there should not be ''an iota of doubt'' that this hilly state is an integral part of India.

The Chief Minister was reacting to the reported outburst of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, rubbishing the statement of Mr Mukherjee that ''China is fully aware that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and no power on earth could snatch it.'' The Chinese spokesman, on Tuesday, while reacting to Mr Mukherjee's statement, said, ''We deeply regret the Indian side's remarks that take no regard of the historical facts. China and India have never officially settled demarcation of borders, and China's stance on the eastern section of Indo-Sino borders is consistent and clear-cut.'' Mr Khandu said, ''There is not even an iota of doubt that Arunachal, including Tawang, is an integral part of India. All Arunachalees are hardcore Indians and staunch patriots.'' Mr Mukherjee, in his inaugural address at the three-day Buddha Mahotsav at Tawang on November 9, had rebuffed China's claim on Arunachal, asserting that it is an integral part of India and the people of the state regularly elect two representatives to the Lok Sabha and there is an elected Assembly carrying out the responsibility of administration like any of the other 27 states.

''The question of parting with Arunachal's land or any of its parts does not arise,'' the minister said at Tawang.

Mr Mukherjee had pointed out that both India and China are seeking a peaceful solution to the vexed border issue and one of the parameters India is insisting on to sort out the boundary issue is that no settled population could be exchanged.

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