Tension over India-China border - 15 Sep 09

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India and China have played down reports of renewed tension between them over a long-running border dispute. But the two Asian countries have been arguing about the demarcation of their 4000km-long border for several decades.

There is now renewed tension on the border issue over which the two countries fought a brief war in 1962.

Parts of the frontier are still in dispute, including a portion of Kashmir and the eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Indian military recently accused China of launching incursions and have stepped up its presence in Kashmir.

However, in an interview with Al Jazeera's Hamish Macdonald, P Chidambaram, India's interior minister, did not rule out error.

"It is a disputed border. There could be navigational errors. What we think are violations have taken place and these are resolved by talking to each other," he said.

"But please remember that the India-China border is not the same as the LoC between India and Pakistan, where infiltration takes place, violence takes place."

In the latest development, the government of Arunachal Pradesh urged New Delhi on Tuesday to act tough on Chinese claims over the state.

"Chinese claims over Arunachal Pradesh are simply baseless and not correct. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and would continue to do so," Dorjee Khandu, the state's chief minister, told the Times of India newspaper.

Conflicting claims

Beijing gave up its territorial claim over Sikkim in 2003 but still holds on to its stand that nearly all of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to it.

The mountainous state shares a 1,030km unfenced border with China.

"The government of India should be more assertive and make its stand on Arunachal Pradesh very clear to China. New Delhi needs to make a bold statement about frequent Chinese claims," Takam Sanjay, a ruling congress party leader from Arunachal Pradesh, told Times of India.

Such concerns are also borne out by confidential communication from local Indian government officials seen by Al Jazeera.

China's foreign ministry has issued an official response saying: "China's border patrol is conducted in strict accordance with rules. Chinese border troops never trespass on other countries' territories.

"Before the final settlement of the China-India boundary issue, the two countries should make joint efforts to safeguard peace and tranquillity along the border."

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