NEW DELHI, Nov 14: China's ambassador to India reiterated his country’s claim to a wide swathe of northeastern India, prompting a sharp rebuke from Indian officials on Tuesday, barely a week before the Chinese president's visit.
India and China fought a war in 1962 over northeastern India's Arunachal Pradesh state and the Aksai Chin region of the northwestern state of Jammu-Kashmir.
China took over the territory in both areas in the war, but did not get all it wanted and still claims the land that it failed to take.
Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi repeated the claim in an interview broadcast on Monday night, telling the CNN-IBN news channel that ''the whole of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh is the Chinese territory. ... We are claiming the whole of that.'' Early Tuesday, Indian officials struck back.
''Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India,'' Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.
Arunachal Pradesh Governor S.K. Singh said the Chinese envoy should not be ''negotiating through the media.''
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China's position on the issue ''has been clear''.
''It can be resolved through friendly consultation,'' Jiang said without giving any more details.
Sujit Dutta, an expert on Chinese affairs, said India knows China's position because its maps continue to show Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.
''The important thing is that the raising of the issue just before the Chinese president's visit does not add to the climate that should be positive,'' said Dutta, who is associated with the government-run Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses.
Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to visit India Nov. 20-23. He is slated to travel to the capital, New Delhi, as well as the cities of Agra and Mumbai, said a statement from India's External Affairs Ministry.
Hu will call on the Indian President A.P.J. Kalam, and hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders.—AP