Kiren Rijiju Counters China’s Arunachal Claims



Mr Rijiju said the move makes China look “very unlike a responsible nation”.

China was used to “meek” Indian governments and the Narendra Modi government’s strong border policy has irritated the country, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju has said.

Reacting to China ‘renaming’ 30 more places in Arunachal Pradesh in an exclusive interview with NDTV on Tuesday, the minister said India is not the country it was in 1962 and will defend every inch of its territory. “We are not a small nation that can be bullied,” he said. 

The Minister of Earth Sciences and Food Processing Industries, who is an MP from Arunachal West and will contest from the seat again in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, said, “I think the Chinese have suddenly realised that India now has a government which is not compromising on anything, especially with regard to our territorial integrity and efforts to secure our border.”

The minister said recent statements from Chinese authorities have complained about the rapid infrastructure development and other works taking place in the border areas. “That means, till 2014, all the border areas, right from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China, were deliberately left unattended and underdeveloped through a policy by the Congress and the UPA government. In 2013, then defence minister AK Antony had admitted in Parliament that, through a calculated policy, it was decided not to develop the border areas,” he claimed. 

“The reasons given were totally unacceptable to us. The reason was silly also, it was a defeatist kind of outlook and policy. The Congress said the infrastructure, like roads and bridges, could be used by the Chinese to invade the country. So that means the Congress party had, in a way, given away… that these areas should not be secured fully… that they should be left for occupation by the Chinese,” he added.

“This has irritated the Chinese because they are not used to it. The Chinese were used to a meek Indian government as well as a pacifist policy towards the border areas. So that has not only infuriated them, it has also irritated them. PM Modi is not going to have any kind of a compromising policy to secure our territory,” he asserted.  

The minister said that the Chinese giving names is part of an “unfounded false narrative”. “This misadventure and this kind of unethical conduct of the Chinese government will not have any impact on the ground. Historically, the people of Arunachal Pradesh have no link with China, in fact we have no word to refer to China. We have a word for Tibet. So our people didn’t know (about) the existence of China, because they were far off,” the minister said.

“It was only after 1959, when the entire Tibetan administrative region was occupied by the Chinese Communist Party did we come in direct contact,” he pointed out.

‘Making Them Look Shallow’

Mr Rijiju said that, far from strengthening China’s claims, the ‘renaming’ of places is making them look shallow because there’s no basis for it. 

“If they have something substantial, they will not make a surreptitious claim. This is totally unacceptable to us, in fact we are very furious… For a responsible, big nation like China, how can they get into this kind of unfounded, false and very funny kind of action? The people of Arunachal Pradesh are taking strong exception to this kind of action from the Chinese side and we want to issue a very strong message… The more China does these kinds of activities, it will only strengthen our resolve to defend our territory,”  the minister said. 

“Arunachal Pradesh is a state where you will not find a single movement which is detrimental to national security… Our identity, our historical connect with the sub-continent’s history will remain intact. We are part of India, we shall remain part of India. It is inalienable territory which belongs to India and will remain so… That is why this kind of misadventurous naming of geographical locations will only make them look very cheap and very unlike a responsible nation,” he added.

Pointing out that “neglected” border villages are being developed by the Modi government, Mr Rijiju alluded to the India-China war of 1962 and asserted, “We are ensuring we are not the India of 1962. We know China is very powerful and is a great power, but so is India. India is not a tiny, small nation that can be pushed around, which can be bullied. Under Modi ji, we are firm. We will not poke our nose into other’s matters, but we are very firm in defending our territory,” he asserted. 


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