China today asked India to maintain a “restrained and measured” approach to resolve the boundary dispute through negotiations, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a strategic bridge linking Assam with Arunachal Pradesh, claimed by Beijing as South Tibet. Asked for its reaction to the inauguration of India’s longest bridge, the first major infrastructure project in Arunachal Pradesh, the Foreign Ministry said China’s position on the eastern part of the China-India boundary is consistent and clear.
“We hope that the Indian side on the relevant issues will take a restrained and measured attitude on the boundary issue before the final solution, and work together with the Chinese side to control disputes, safeguard regional peace and tranquillity along the border,” the ministry said.
“China and India should resolve the territorial dispute through negotiation and consultation,” it said, without directly referring to the bridge.
Over the years, China has been ramping-up infrastructure including massive construction of rail, road and airports in Tibet, sparking concerns in India as it could enable speedier and easier movement of troops. India in recent years has stepped up its infrastructure in border areas.
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The 9.5-km long bridge inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on May 26 is India’s longest bridge. Besides connecting Assam with Arunachal Pradesh it can facilitate movement of heavy military equipment including battle tanks to frontier areas.
While China has so far claimed Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covers Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war. The two sides have so far held 19 rounds of talks with Special Representatives to resolve the boundary dispute.