China ‘renames’ 15 places in India in latest spat between the two powers

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An Indian Army soldier in Tawang, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on 20 October 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)
An Indian Army soldier in Tawang, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on 20 October 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)

China has “renamed” 15 places in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, in a region which Beijing claims is ‘South Tibet’.

China’s civil affairs ministry announced that it had “standardised” in Chinese characters and Tibetan and Roman alphabets, the names of 15 places in Zangnan or South Tibet, according to a report by the state-run Global Times daily.

The places included eight residential areas, four mountains, two rivers and a mountain pass. It is the latest spat between the two major Asian powers.

However, Delhi pushbacked on the “invented names” and said did not change the fact that the place would “always be” part of India.

“This is not the first time China has attempted such a renaming of places in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. China had also sought to assign such names in April 2017,” said Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for India’s federal external affairs ministry.

“Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India. Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact.”

The names of the residential places are Sengkezong and Daglungzong in Cona County of Shannan Prefecture, Mani’gang, Duding and Migpain in Medog County of Nyingchi, Goling, Damba in Zayu County of Nyingchi, and Mejag in Lhunze County of Shannan Prefecture, reported the Global Times.

The four mountains included Wamo Ri, Dêu Ri, Lhünzhub Ri and Kunmingxingzê Feng, and two rivers are Xenyogmo He and Dulain He. The mountain pass is Se La, in Cona County.

The renaming was done “in accordance with regulations on geographical names issued by the State Council,” said the Global Times report.

Lian Xiangmin, an expert with the China Tibetology Research Centre in Beijing, said further “standardisation” of names is to come.

He told the Global Times that China’s civil affairs ministry has made a “legitimate move” and that it was China’s “sovereign right” to do so.

“More standardised place names in the region will be announced in the future,” the expert was quoted as saying.

The latest development comes amid reports of China setting up infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh.

Two separate satellite images released in mid-November showed China has been setting a cluster of 60 buildings in Arunachal Pradesh, reported NDTV.

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