China renames 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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China renames 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh

Apr 04, 2023 06:05 AM IST

This is the third time China has unilaterally renamed places in Arunachal Pradesh, having done it in April, 2017, and in December 2021.

China has renamed 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims as South Tibet, in a move that’s set to further deepen mistrust between New Delhi and Beijing at a time when the two are in the middle of their worst bilateral chill in decades.

Indian and Chinese troops clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.(File/ PTI)
Indian and Chinese troops clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.(File/ PTI)

The changed names include that of mountain peaks, rivers and residential areas.

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Read here: Arunachal integral part of India, condemn China's aggression at LAC: Rare resolution in US Senate

This is the third time China has unilaterally renamed places in Arunachal Pradesh, having done it in April, 2017, and in December 2021.

There was no immediate response from Indian officials to the development. People familiar with the matter said the Indian side was aware of the development, which was a continuation of similar steps taken by China in recent years.

The renaming in the past too was promptly rejected by India, with New Delhi reiterating that the northeastern state will always remain an integral and “inseparable” part of India.

“According to the relevant regulations of the State Council (China’s cabinet) on the management of geographical names, our ministry, together with relevant departments, has standardised some geographical names in southern Tibet,” China’s civil affairs ministry said in a short statement on Sunday.

It means that names of the places in Tibetan will from now also be available in Pinyin -- the standard romanisation of Mandarin characters -- on Chinese maps.

“The official names of the 11 places were released by the ministry on Sunday, which also gave precise coordinates, including two land areas, two residential areas, five mountain peaks and two rivers. It also listed the category of places’ names and their subordinate administrative districts,” the state-run tabloid, Global Times, said in a report on the government notification on Monday.

The report added that it was the third batch of “standardised geographical names in Zangnan issued by the civil affairs ministry”.

The state media report quoted Zhang Yongpan, from the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying China’s move to standardise the names “falls within China’s sovereignty”.

Lian Xiangmin, an expert with the China Tibetology Research Center in Beijing, told the tabloid that more “standardised” place names in the region will be announced in the future.

Beijing claims Zangnan (the southern part of China’s Tibet) as part of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China.

It wasn’t immediately clear why China decided to issue new names now but given the state of ties, it is not surprising that Beijing made a move to irk New Delhi.

The change in names will not have any direct impact on the places in Arunachal Pradesh listed in the 11.

In 2017, the name changes were carried out on April 13, a day after Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama left Arunachal Pradesh following a high-profile nine-day high visit. Beijing calls the Dalai Lama a splittist, and says he wants to create an independent country of Tibet.

Ahead of a new border security law taking effect in January 2021, Beijing had renamed 15 locations in Arunachal Pradesh. India had dismissed the Chinese move in 2021 and said such actions wouldn’t alter the region’s status as an integral part of the country.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said at the time: “This is not the first time China has attempted such a renaming of places in the state of Arunachal Pradesh... Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India. Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact.”

Read here: ‘China troops on Ladakh, Arunachal borders similar to… Told Jaishankar, but…’: Rahul Gandhi

India and China have been locked in a standoff in Ladakh sector approaching three years, since early May 2020, sending bilateral ties plummeting to their worst in decades.

Both sides have deployed thousands of troops and heavy armament along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

A deadly clash at Galwan Valley in June 2020 left 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops dead – the first fatalities along the LAC since 1975.

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