China renames areas of Arunachal again for third time

DHARAMSALA, 4 April: China has yet again renamed several areas of Arunachal Pradesh, an act described by Indian media as provocative and stroking controversy. 

“As India and China remain entangled in a bitter border standoff over some friction points in eastern Ladakh, Beijing has yet again stoked a controversy by renaming 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh that it claims as South Tibet,” Times now reported.

Similarly, The Hindustan Times reported that “Beijing yet again provoked India on April 2 by renaming 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh to maintain its so-called claim over what it calls South Tibet.”

Confirming the development, Chinese state-run media, Global Times reported that China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs has “standardised the names of 11 places in Zangnan (southern part of Southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region) in Chinese characters”.

According to the report, “The official names of the 11 places were released by the ministry on Sunday, which also gave precise coordinates, including two residential areas, five mountain peaks, two rivers and two other areas. It also listed the category of places’ names and their subordinate administrative districts.”

New Delhi has responded to the development by rejecting China’s move to rename 11 locations in Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as South Tibet on Tuesday.

“We have seen such reports. This is not the first time China has made such an attempt. We reject this outright,” India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said and added that “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.”

According to reports, this is the third instance where China has renamed areas in Arunachal Pradesh, a practice Beijing has called  ‘standardising some geographical names in southern Tibet’.

So far, China has renamed a total of 32 places in Arunachal Pradesh. In 2017, China renamed 6 places in Arunachal Pradesh while it also renamed 15 places in 2021. 

The McMahon Line demarcation is the current effective boundary between China and India after the Chinese occupation of Tibet.  It is a demarcation line drawn on the map referred to in the Shimla Accord, a treaty signed between Britain and Tibet in 1914.

Additionally, China has laid claim to around 90,000 square kilometres of Arunachal Pradesh as its own territory, which India has resolutely rejected.

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