China again renames 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet, India says ground situation 'won't change'


New Delhi: China has for the third time made an attempt to lay claim to areas inside the Indian territory by renaming 11 places in India’s Arunachal Pradesh which it calls “Zangan, the southern part of Tibet”. The move is expected to further intensify tension and deepen mistrust between New Delhi and Beijing who are in the middle of their worst bilateral chill in decades.

The names were released on Sunday and are in Chinese, Tibetan and pinyin characters, in accordance with regulations on geographical names issued by State Council, China’s cabinet, said a report by Chinese state mouthpiece Global Times.

In a release on Sunday, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs said they are “standardising some geographical names in southern Tibet”.

Which places in Arunachal Pradesh has been renamed by China?

Sharing the “official” names of 11 places for Arunachal Pradesh, the China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs 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.”

Source: Twitter/@aadilbrar

Not just the list with the “official” names, China has also released a map that showed parts of Arunachal Pradesh inside the southern Tibetan region which even includes a town situated close to the state capital of Itanagar.

Source: Twitter/@aadilbrar

The latest renaming practice by China comes mere days ahead China’s newly appointed Defence Minister General Li Shangfu’s visit to India. He is expected to attend the SCO Defence Ministers’ meetings this month. China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang will also be attending the meeting SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in May, where India currently holds the presidency of the group.

Also, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit India for the SCO summit in July.

Not for the first time

This if not the first time China has renamed places terming them standardised geographical names. Days after Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama left Arunachal Pradesh following a high-profile nine-day high visit in 2017, China on 13 April carried out first batch of name changes of six places in Arunachal Pradesh.

The second batch was in 2021 when China renamed 15 locations in Arunachal Pradesh. It happened ahead of a new border security law taking that was to come in effect in January 2021. Dismissing China’s move, India said such actions wouldn’t alter the region’s status as an integral part of the country.

India reacts

A report by Times of India mentioned sources in the Indian government saying, “This wasn’t the first time China had carried out such an exercise and that assigning manufactured names won’t change the situation on the ground.”

“Arunachal Pradesh has always been and will continue to be an integral part of India,” a source said.

In 2021, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said, “Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact.”

Standoff between India and China

India and China have been locked in a standoff in Ladakh sector since early May 2020, worsening bilateral ties between both the countries. Thousands of troops and heavy armament have been deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In June 2020, at Galwan Valley clash, 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops were dead – the first fatalities along the LAC since 1975.

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China again renames 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet, India says ground situation 'won't change'
China again renames 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet, India says ground situation 'won't change'
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