Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 16:43 UK

Chinese report sparks India anger

Indian and Chinese flags
India says relations with China remain warm

The Indian foreign ministry has dismissed a suggestion by a Chinese think tank that the country should be broken up into 30 independent states.

It said that the proposal was the view of an individual and did not accord with the official position of China.

The report was written by the China International Institute of Strategic Studies in July.

It argues that a fragmented India would be in China's interests and would also lead to prosperity in the region.

The article was available online until recently but it has now been removed. Even so, it has received extensive coverage in the Indian press.

'Broken up'

The Times of India quoted it as saying that Beijing "should work towards the the break-up of India into 20-30 independent states with the help of friendly countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

Indian guard in Arunachal Pradesh
Indian troops have a long-standing border dispute with China

The article was reportedly written under the pseudonym "Zhan Lue" (Strategy). It argued that if China "takes a little action, the so-called great Indian federation can be broken up".

The Times of India quotes the paper as arguing that China should join forces with "different nationalities" such as Tamil and Kashmiri people so that they can establish independent nation states of their own.

It also reportedly carried other similar proposals for other areas of the country and makes a reference to the disputed north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which lies on the border with China.

The Indian foreign ministry said that the two countries have a "strategic and co-operative partnership... and the pace of exchanges has gained momentum in recent years".

"Both sides have agreed to continue this momentum, while seeking to resolve outstanding issues, including the boundary question through peaceful dialogue and consultations, and with mutual sensitivity to each other's concerns," the foreign ministry statement said.

"The Chinese side has conveyed to us that in approaching India-China relations, China abides by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. One of these principles stresses respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty.

"The article in question appears to be an expression of individual opinion and does not accord with the officially stated position of China on India-China relations conveyed to us on several occasions, including at the highest level... last week."

The publication of the article coincides with the 13th round of India-China border talks, which both sides have termed as positive.

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