India signs security cooperation agreement with China at delegation level talks

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New Delhi – : Home Minister Rajnath Singh, along with union minister Kiren Rijiju, held delegation-level talks with his Chinese counterpart Zhao Kezhi on Monday. India and China signed security cooperation agreement at the meeting.

At first the name of Rijiju, who was part of the Indian team led by Singh, did not figure for talks with the Chinese delegation. Later, a message was sent to him to reach North Block which houses the Home Ministry and where the delegation-level talks was supposed to be held in minutes, said an official in the Ministry of Home Affairs privy to the development.

A home ministry spokesperson declined to comment.

Rijiju hails from Arunachal Pradesh, which China considers as a “disputed” territory. China does not issue regular visas to people from Arunachal Pradesh but gives staple visa, which India has been protesting strongly. India considers Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of the country.

It was not immediately not known whether, at the restricted meeting, Singh informed his Chinese counterpart about Rijiju’s participation in the delegation-level talks held shortly afterwards.

During the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh in April 2017, China warned it would take “necessary measures” to defend its territorial sovereignty and interests, saying India “obstinately” allowed the Tibetan spiritual leader to visit the “disputed” parts of the Northeastern state, causing “serious damage” to the bilateral ties.

China routinely protest visits of Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh.

In November 2017, China objected to President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to the northeastern state, saying India should refrain from “complicating” their border dispute when bilateral ties were poised at a “crucial moment”.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Arunachal Pradesh in February 2015, China said it has never recognised the state and is “opposed” to the prime minister’s visit to the “disputed area”.

A similar protest was also lodged by China when Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited Arunachal Pradesh and Beijing said her tour of the “disputed area” is not conducive to peace in the frontier region and asked New Delhi to create an “enabling environment” to resolve the border row.

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