India has found a subtle way to counter Chinese expansionist designs that are manifested by the frequent depiction of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim as the East Asian country's territories.
Beijing's latest such effort was exposed with the issuance of electronic passports which showed Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin and disputed islands in the South China Sea as Chinese territory in the map outline. China has also been repeatedly offering stapled visas to Arunachalis, prompting a vociferous reaction from India.
In response to the passports, New Delhi has come out with a state-of-the-art coffee table book on Arunachal Pradesh titled 'Arunachal Pradesh – An Ode', which emphatically shows the Northeast state as an integral part of the country.
The innocuous book, containing stunning pictures of natural scenery, appears to have the perfect recipe for catching the eye of tourists and, at the same time, settle India's territorial claim on Arunachal Pradesh by mentioning its exact latitude (between 26.28 N & 29.30 N) and longitude (between 91.20 E – 97.30 E).
Envisaged by Union home ministry's North-East division, which looks after the Seven Sisters, and designed by the renowned Earthwatch Institute, which works on sustainable development, the 55-page book gives a glimpse of the state's history, culture, customs, tribes, arts, crafts, flora and fauna. "The key purpose of the book is counter oft-repeated Chinese claims at the international level. It was a conscious decision on our part to not let diplomatic necessities hold us from saying loud and clear that these regions are ours," said sources.
The book was published last year and most of its 25,000 copies are already adorning the receptions of Indian embassies and consulates around the globe, including those in China. Moreover, copies have also been sent to the all foreign embassies and consulates in India.
To smother any further Chinese claims on Indian territories, the Union home ministry is now bringing out a coffee table book on Sikkim. "The book on Arunachal Pradesh has got rave reviews abroad and we are hoping tourist traffic there will see a manifold increase. The book on Sikkim will be on similar lines but will be more exhaustive and pictorial to catch tourism potential," said a senior official.