• Saturday, April 20, 2024

Asia

India rejects China’s renaming places in Arunachal: ‘If I change the name of your house, does it become my house?’

New Delhi called Beijing’s action as ‘senseless’ and reiterated that the border province is an ‘integral’ part of India.

Representational Image: iStock

By: Twinkle Roy

INDIA on Tuesday (2) dismissed China’s attempt to rename around 30 locations in its northeastern-most Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh, labeling the action as “senseless” and restating that the border province is an “integral” part of India.

China asserts that Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as Zangnan, is a part of South Tibet—a claim which is consistently rejected by its southern neighbour. It was approximately a year ago that Beijing escalated tensions by assigning Chinese names to 11 locations in the state.

In December 2022, troops from the two nuclear-armed neighbours were involved in minor scuffles along their disputed frontier in the state. Tensions eased only after extensive military and diplomatic deliberations.

Read: India slams China for protesting Modi visit to Arunachal: ‘Doesn’t stand to reason’

Still, the state remains a frequent source of friction between the two nations, whose relations have deteriorated since a violent border clash between their troops in the western Himalayas in June 2020.

China announced on Saturday (30) that it had standardized the names of approximately 30 places in what it refers to as South Tibet, “in accordance with the relevant regulations on place name management of the State Council”.

This is the fourth time in seven years that China has come up with Chinese names for places in Arunachal Pradesh.

Read: China flag on Indian rocket! Modi, BJP blast Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK

The third such list was issued in April last year with 11 names. The first list with six places and the second with 15 names were issued in 2017 and 2017, respectively.

Speaking on the matter on Tuesday, the spokesperson of the Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA), Randhir Jaiswal, said, “Assigning invented names will not alter the reality that Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.”

Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told reporters on Monday that “changing names will not do anything”.

“If I change the name of your house, does it become my house?” he remarked. Jaishankar recently called China’s attempts to claim Arunachal Pradesh “ludicrous”.

In March, following Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the state to inaugurate infrastructure projects, Beijing expressed objection to his activities in the region. India dismissed these claims as “baseless.”

The United States also commented on the issue, affirming its recognition of Arunachal Pradesh as an Indian territory and strongly opposing any unilateral attempts to assert claims on it through military or civilian “incursion or encroachments”.

China responded to the US’ viewpoints saying the matter had nothing to do with Washington.

India and China share a border extending 3,800 kilometres – much of it lacking a proper demarcation – over which they also fought a war in 1962.

During the hand-to-hand combat in 2020, 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops lost their lives, leading to both sides fortifying positions and deploying additional troops and equipment along the border.

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