China on Fridayobjected to the visit of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to Arunachal Pradesh,saying the Chinese government never acknowledged the "so-called"northeast Indian state, which it claims to be a part of South Tibet.
Singh visited Tawangon Thursday for the 'Maitree Diwas' celebrations to boost civil-militaryfriendship in the region bordering China.
Reacting to the visit,Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Geng Shuang said "the Chinesegovernment never acknowledged the so-called Arunachal Pradesh.
"We firmly oppose theactivities conducted in that area by Indian officials or leaders. We urge theIndian side to respect Chinese interests and concerns, and stop taking anyactions that may complicate the boundary matter and take real actions tosafeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas," Geng said.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet and the two countries have so far held 21 rounds of talks to resolve the border dispute covering 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China routinelyobjects to Indian leaders' visits to Arunachal Pradesh to buttress its stand.
India says ArunachalPradesh is its integral and inalienable part and Indian leaders visit the statefrom time to time, as they visit other parts of the country.
Addressing a function in the border town ofTawang, Singh said people living there are important to the countrystrategically.
He described the people living on borders as no ordinary citizens but India's "strategic assets" and said the road to a 'new India' as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi runs through a "new North-East." The government is working on a north-east industrial corridor to develop Arunachal Pradesh as a land bridge for southeast Asia, he said.