India says China's new passport maps unacceptable

New Delhi New Delhi responded on Saturday to China's newly revised passports that show parts of Indian territory as part of China by issuing visas to Chinese citizens that show its own maps.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid says the map showing India's Arunachal Pradesh state and the Himalayan region of Aksai Chin as part of China is "unacceptable."

India retaliated by starting to issue visas to Chinese citizens with a map of India which shows the territories in India.

The new Chinese passports have also upset the Philippines and Vietnam because they show disputed parts of the South China Sea as belonging to China.

In New Delhi, China is viewed as a longtime ally and weapons supplier to Pakistan, India's bitter rival. For Beijing, the presence in India of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and 120,000 exiles from Tibet remains a source of tension.

India says China controls 41,440 square kilometers (16,000 square miles) of its territory in Aksai Chin in Kashmir, while Beijing claims Arunachal Pradesh, which shares a 1,050-kilometer (650-mile) border with the Chinese region of Tibet.

India and China fought a brief border war in 1962. The territorial dispute remains unresolved despite 15 rounds of talks, but relations have improved in recent years and trade has grown exponentially to reach more than $75 billion last year.

However, the trade remains heavily skewed in favor of China, which is now India's biggest trading partner.

Story First Published: November 24, 2012 17:09 IST

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