NEW DELHI (TIP): Ahead of Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie’s visit, New Delhi Thursday reiterated that Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India and backed freedom of navigation in South China Sea, a territory claimed by Beijing and other countries. China disputes the international boundary between India and China in the eastern sector and claims approximately 90,000 sq km of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh. China illegally refers to this region as ‘Southern Tibet’, Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed told parliament. He was responding to a question by Rajya Sabha BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad whether China considered Arunachal Pradesh as the southern part of Tibet. “The fact that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India has been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side,” Ahamed said. The Chinese defence minister will be in India this week. Issues such as the Sino-Indian border, confidence building between the armed forces of the two countries and maritime cooperation are expected to be discussed. In a separate question , Ahamed underlined that India was not a party to the dispute over sovereignty over areas of South China Sea. ‘Sovereignty over areas of South China Sea is disputed between many countries in the region. India is not party to the dispute,’ Ahmed said in a written reply. ‘The government has said it supports freedom of navigation, right of passage and access to resources in accordance with accepted principles of international law and these should be respected by all,’ he said. He added that India wants that all these sovereignty issues should be resolved by the countries in accordance with international laws and practices.