The Union Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday rejected China’s objection to a visit by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to Arunachal Pradesh, and asserted that the state was an inalienable part of India, PTI reported.

Naidu was in Arunachal Pradesh from October 8 to October 10. He addressed the state’s Legislative Assembly on October 9.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the country was “firmly opposed” to Naidu’s visit to the state.

“China’s position on the boundary issue is consistent and clear,” he said. “The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side.”

The spokesperson had urged India to “stop taking any action that would complicate and expand the boundary issue and refrain from undermining mutual trust and bilateral relations”.

In response, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that Indian leaders routinely travel to Arunachal Pradesh, as they do to other Indian states, ANI reported.

“Objecting to the visit of Indian leaders to an Indian state does not stand to reason and understanding of Indian people,” Bagchi said.

The statements by India and China come two days after the 13th round of military talks between India and China on Sunday failed to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh. The Indian Army said that India made constructive suggestions to resolve the tensions, but the Chinese side did not agree to them.

China claims the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet, while India says Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of it.

Beijing has often opposed visits by Indian political leaders to the state.

In February 2020, China had “firmly opposed” a visit by Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah to Arunachal Pradesh to attend a statehood day event. Beijing said the visit had violated its “territorial sovereignty and sabotaged political mutual trust”.