India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that China was making “absurd claims” over Arunachal Pradesh, adding that the northeastern state which shares a border with China will always be an “integral and inalienable part of India”.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of southern Tibet. New Delhi rejects the claim, saying Arunachal Pradesh has always been a part of India.

“Repeating baseless arguments in this regard does not lend such claims any validity,” Randhir Jaiswal, India’s foreign ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.

He was responding to last week’s comments made by Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang, spokesman of China’s Ministry of National Defence, days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a road tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh on March 9.

Zhang said in a statement that India should “stop taking any moves that complicate the border issue and earnestly maintain peace and stability in the border areas”, adding that the tunnel’s inauguration “runs counter to the efforts made by both sides to ease the border situation”.

The nuclear-armed neighbours share a 3,000-kilometre frontier, much of it poorly demarcated.

At least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops were killed in 2020 in clashes along their border in the western Himalayas.

The militaries of both countries have fortified positions and deployed extra troops and equipment along the border since those clashes. Both sides fought a border war in 1962.

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