Renaming places in Arunachal is part of Chinese psy-ops
Playing mind wars with the adversary is an old Chinese tactic since Sun Tzu days with deception, treachery, and propaganda legitimate tools of Communist Party arsenal. The Chinese renaming of 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh in mandarin language is part of the same psychological warfare designed to keep Narendra Modi government on tenterhooks and declare a new normal of Beijing’s strategy on boundary resolution.
The Chinese are playing similar mind games with Republic of Taiwan and its western backers with its PLA warplanes breaching the Taipei’s southwestern air identification zone or ADIZ virtually on a daily basis throughout 2021. The last big Chinese breach took place on November 28, 2021 with 27 fighters, bombers and aerial reconnaissance planes bullying Taiwan into a new normal with regional and global powers on perpetual tenterhooks. Since the dawn of 2022, there has been a breach of Taiwan ADIZ by Chinese reconnaissance plane on January 1 and 2 respectively as if the Chinese Communist Party under its all-powerful leader Xi Jinping is marking territory.
While India dismissed the Chinese renaming of some places in Arunachal Pradesh, the national security planners understand Beijing’s mind games and will respond to this at the right place and right time. The Narendra Modi government is in no mood to be reactive to Chinese psy-ops but will not allow any free lunches to Beijing.
Perhaps, the Chinese move itself was a reaction of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat calling upon His Holiness the Dalai Lama on December 21 at McLeodganj. The RSS chief not only exchanged notes with the 14th Dalai Lama but also met the leaders of Tibet Government-in-Exile in Dharamshala. It is quite evident from the Chinese embassy reaction to Indian MPs attending a reception hosted by the Tibetan Government in Exile that the Tibet issue is as much as a red rag to CCP as Taiwan if not more. Breaching diplomatic etiquettes, the Chinese Embassy virtually threatened the six MPs attending the reception in December 2021 and asked them to refrain from supporting the Tibetan cause. Even in the past, junior level diplomats of Chinese embassy and consulate in Mumbai have breached diplomatic etiquettes by openly questioning Indian Ministers in the previous UPA regime including Pranab Mukherjee, who later became President, on 1962 war. Besides, Beijing has a habit of issuing a statement every time an Indian VVIP visits Arunachal Pradesh.
While China takes serious umbrage on any issue concerning Tibet, Sinkiang and Taiwan, India in the past has followed the Beijing’s practice of changing names of towns and cities in Tibet and in Sinkiang. The Indian Embassy in Beijing has practiced diplomatic etiquettes by not writing directly to Chinese propaganda media who routinely project India in very poor light as part of its information warfare. Maybe the time has come for Indian surveyor general to publish new maps that call a spade a spade in Tibet and not pander to the Xizang nomenclature of CCP.