China today asserted that it had never waged a war to occupy "an inch of land of other countries", days after BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi slammed the Communist giant for its "expansionist mindset".
"You mentioned expansionism by the Chinese side. I believe all of you can see that China has never waged a war of aggression to occupy an inch of land of other countries," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters while responding to questions on Modi's remarks. "We always reiterate that we take real actions to commit through the peaceful development path" and are committed to good neighbourliness and cooperative relations, she said.
"There has never been any armed clashes in border areas over the years. So there is very strong evidence that we have the capability to maintain peace there. This is very good for the future development of the bilateral relations," she said, highlighting that there was no major confrontation at Sino-Indian borders after the 1962 war. "It is not only good for our two people but also to the whole region," Hua said, adding that "we hope to work together with our Indian counterpart to that end".
Modi, at a rally in Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday, asked China to shed its "expansionist mindset". "China should shed its expansionist policy and forge bilateral ties with India for peace, progress and prosperity of both the nations," he said. "Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and will always remain so. No power can snatch it from us. People of Arunachal Pradesh didn't come under pressure or fear of China," Modi said.
Responding to Modi's remarks, Hua said, "our position on the Eastern sector of the boundary is very consistent and clear cut. We would like to develop good neighbourliness and friendly relations with our neighbours and resolve relevant disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations." China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet and it is part of the dispute over the 4000 km-long Line of Actual Control between the two countries.
Hua said currently China and India are maintaining good momentum of bilateral relations. "The two leaders have degree of consensus on the significance of growing bilateral relations. We hope to settle the boundary negotiations as soon as possible," she said.