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Changing the name of others’ territory doesn’t make it yours – India to China

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(, Apr02’24) — Reacting to China’s renaming of 30 more places in Arunachal Pradesh, announced on Mar 30, India said Apr 2 that it would not have any effect on the ground reality. Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will always be India’s part, said India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, speaking at the Corporate Summit 2024 organized by Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi. An Indian geostrategist has asked New Delhi to reverse its position on Tibet’s status in view of China’s persistent claim on Arunachal.

“If today I change the name of your house, will it become mine? Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always be a state of India. Changing names does not have an effect,” Jaishankar was widely quoted as saying.

“Our army is deployed at the Line of Actual Control…,” he has made it clear.

Also, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement Apr 2: “China has persisted with its senseless attempts to rename places in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. We firmly reject such attempts. 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.”

On the same day, Union minister Kiren Rijiju and Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu also rejected attempts by China to rename places in Arunachal Pradesh.

“I strongly condemn China’s illegally ‘standardised’ geographical names given to 30 places inside Arunachal Pradesh,” quoted Rijiju, who represents a border district in the state in the Indian parliament, as saying.

Khandu has called China’s renaming exercise a “gimmick”.

S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India. (Photo courtesy: PTI)

“Another gimmick from China. Being a proud citizen of Bharat and a native of Arunachal Pradesh, I strongly condemn this act of naming places within Arunachal Pradesh which has been an integral part of India. Proud citizens and patriots of Arunachal Pradesh are rejecting such antics,” the report quoted the chief minister as saying.

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On Mar 30, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs released a fourth list since 2017 of what it called “standardized geographical names in Zangnan”, referring to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which it calls “southern part of Tibet” in Chinese on the assumption of the legitimacy of its occupation rule over Tibet.

China’s official, which reported it Mar 30, citing the ministry’s official website. said the announcement was for “30 additional publicly used place names in the Zangnan region” but did not give a list of those names.

However, the Mar 31 said the announcement was for “30 additional publicly used place names in the Zangnan region”. It said the latest renaming covered 11 residential areas, 12 mountains, four rivers, one lake, one mountain pass and a piece of land, all given in Chinese characters, Tibetan and pinyin, the Roman alphabet version of Mandarin Chinese.

Jaishankar’s latest remarks followed a series of tit-for-tat exchanges between India and China following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state on Mar 9 and inauguration of the strategic Sela Tunnel there. China lodged a diplomatic protest over the visit on Mar 11.

China claims that “Zangnan” was always a part of China before it was “illegally occupied” by India; that India established the “so-called Arunachal Pradesh” in 1987 on the “illegally occupied territory”.

China did not say when India “illegally occupied” a territory called “Zangnan”.

Originally known as the North-East Frontier Tracts (NEFT), and then North–East Frontier Agency (NEFA) as a political division in British India and then under the Republic of India until Jan 20, 1972, when it became the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh and some parts of Assam, it received the status of State on Feb 20, 1987.

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Indian geostrategist Brahma Chellaney has said Apr 1 that New Delhi should remind Beijing that it occupied Tibet by mocking international law and that it now wants to extend its Tibet annexation to Arunachal.

China should be told that the real issue is that it imposed itself as India’s neighbour by annexing Tibet, Apr 1 cited Chellaney as saying.

“Should India continue to recognize Tibet as part of China when Beijing openly seeks to extend its Tibet annexation to Arunachal?” Chellaney has asked in a tweet on Mar 26.

India recognized Tibet as an autonomous region of China in a 1954 trade agreement with China which also incorporated a set of five principle of peaceful coexistence, known as the Panchsheel, between the two sides.


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