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Defence Minister Antony to grace 'sensitive' Arunachal statehood festivities

New Delhi, Wed, 01 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb 1 (ANI): With Sino-Indian relations on Arunachal Pradesh being tense, especially over the border issue, Defence Minister A K Antony will visit the sensitive state for two days and will also grace festivities linked to the silver jubilee of statehood.


The Rajiv Gandhi Government had granted statehood to Arunachal Pradesh on February 20, 1987. Antony is likely to undertake his visit on February 19 and will inaugurate the celebrations of statehood day at Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar on February 20.


Chief Minister Nabam Tuki accompanied by Member of Parliament Takam Sanjoy met Antony at the Defence Ministry on Wednesday to extend an invitation to him to attend the festivities.


"Defence Minister Antony has accepted our invitation to be the chief guest on the occasion to mark the statehood day," said Sanjoy, who represents Arunachal West in the Lok Sabha.


Arunachal is the largest state area-wise in the northeast part of India, having a 83743 sq. kms area and a long international border with Bhutan to the west (160 km), China to the north and north-east (1,080 km) and Myanmar to the east (440 km).


The northern border of Arunachal Pradesh reflects the McMahon Line, which has never been accepted by Beijing, and this has been the real bone of contention with India.


Antony's important visit to Arunachal Pradesh must be seen in the light of China often using the visa issue to raise the pitch.


In January, China denied a visa to Group Captain M. Panging, an IAF Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter pilot posted at Tezpur, Assam, because he hailed from Arunachal Pradesh.


India has time and again conveyed to China that there should be no discrimination against visa applicants of Indian nationality on grounds of domicile and ethnicity.


China disputes the international boundary that it currently has with India in the eastern sector and has repeatedly staked a claim to approximately 90,000 square kilometres of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh.


It has also been accused of stalling multilateral funded development projects in Arunachal Pradesh. (ANI)


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