India on Tuesday rejected China’s move to rename 11 location in Arunavhal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as South Tibet, with the external affairs ministry saying such steps will not alter the reality that the northeastern state is an integral part of the country.
The renaming of the 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh by China’s civil affairs ministry came at a time when the two countries are witnessing the worst bilateral in their relations in six decades because of the military standoff in Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
This was the third time China has unilaterally renamed places in Arunachal Pradesh, after changing the names of six locations in April 2017 and 15 more locations in December 2021.
Responding to the latest renaming of places in Arunachal Pradesh, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “We have seen such reports. This is not the first time China has made such an attempt. We reject this outright.”
He added, “Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Attempts to assign invented names will not alter this reality.”
In the past too, India had promptly rejected such renaming of places in Arunachal Pradesh and reiterated that the northeastern state is an integral and inseparable part of the country.
A brief statement issued on Sunday by China’s civil affairs ministry said: “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.”
State-run tabloid Global Times reported on Monday that the civil affairs ministry gave coordinates of the places that were renamed, including two land areas, two residential areas, five mountain peaks and two rivers. “It listed the category of places’ names and their subordinate administrative districts,” the report said.
China’s state media quoted Zhang Yongpan, from the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying that the move to standardise names “falls within China’s sovereignty”.