China’s absence in a G20 meeting held in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh has upset India. Sources said that New Delhi sees it as another action by China amounting to disregarding India’s territorial sovereignty and integrity. According to sources, China’s decision to skip the G20 conclave will further isolate it on a global stage. “Beijing’s disregard for international law for expansionism has already annoyed the global community too much. “There must be some statements from the global leaders against the Chinese act,” said diplomats.
Sources said that the Chinese delegation did not join the meeting in the border state, which it claim own, and has, previously, objected to the visits by foreign leaders and also the India leaders to the state. “It is unclear if China has officially lodged a protest with India over the meeting being held in Arunachal Pradesh,” sources said. However, New Delhi is ready to counter any Chinese protest over this matter. “If needed, India would send out a strong message to Beijing through diplomatic channels, expressing serious displeasure over its decision to skip the G20 meeting held in Itanagar,” sources added.
“India wants other countries including the US to send a strong signal to China over the same, reaffirming their stand that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India,” said a source. Recently, in a bipartisan resolution passed by the US, the McMohan Line was recognized as the international boundary between Arunachal Pradesh and China, with the north-eastern state being called an “integral part of India”. US senators Bill Hagerty and Jeff Merkley introduced the resolution in the Senate, with Hagerty stating, “At a time when China continues to pose grave and gathering threats to the Free and Open Indo-Pacific, it is critical for the United States to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our strategic partners in the region, especially India.”
China’s decision not to attend the meeting in Arunachal Pradesh should be seen as Beijing hardening its stand over this north-eastern state in the background of the development in the US that came as a jolt to the government in Beijing. India has always rejected China’s territorial claims over Arunachal in the past and maintains Arunachal Pradesh as its integral part.
Over 50 delegates attended the meeting, which is among the dozens of events planned across 50 major cities ahead of the G20 summit in Delhi in September. India currently holds the G20 presidency. However, neither the foreign ministry nor China has commented on it. The weekend meeting was declared confidential and media coverage was not permitted. Themed ‘Research innovation initiative, gathering’, the meeting was organised by the Science and Technology department.
The delegates who attended the meet also visited Arunachal Pradesh legislative assembly and a Buddhist monastery in Itanagar. Upon their arrival, they were received by cultural troupes at the airport. They also tasted local cuisines, said officials.
India and Chinese troops had clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the state’s Tawang sector last December, in a face-off that came amid a months-long border standoff in eastern Ladakh. Both Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had then accused China of trying to “unilaterally” change the status quo along the LAC.