China maps out new provocation; renames 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in response to a media query
Even as the troops of the two neighbouring countries are locked in a standoff in eastern Ladakh since over 20 months, China has once again upped the ante against India by renaming 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh which it has been claiming as part of its south Tibet region. Prior to this, China's Ministry of Civil Affairs had renamed six places in 2017.
It is pertinent to mention that the latest renaming bid comes ahead of the implementation of China's new border law from January 1. Clearly, the changes have been made to buttress its claim on the northeastern state of India. According to the China's Civil Affairs Ministry, among the 15 places that have been renamed, eight are residential areas, four are mountains, two are rivers and one is a mountain pass.
India, meanwhile, has rejected the claims made by Beijing. Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in response to a media query, adding that assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact.
The National People's Congress gave its approval to the new Land Border Law on October 23 that will come into effect on Saturday. Chinese experts are of the view that the renaming of places in India's northeastern state is a legitimate move and sovereign right to give them standardized names. "More standardized place names in the region will be announced in the future," the Chinese government official mouthpiece Global Times said.
China has been claiming 90,000 sqkm areas of Arunachal Pradesh as part of its territory and calls it Zangnan or south Tibet. Time and again, New Delhi has rejected Beijing's claim and stated that Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India.
Talking to Asianet Newsable, security expert Major General Ashok Kumar (Retd) said, "Once these names appear on the map of Arunachal Pradesh, it will form part of an expanded cartographic aggression towards the larger aim of consolidating its claimed areas."
Maj Gen Kumar stated that New Delhi should lodge a formal complaint, not only with China but other concerned international organisations to desist Beijing from doing so. He also called upon New Delhi to revisit its boundary issues and consolidate its claims by developing infrastructure on a mission mode, settlement of border areas with civilian population, cartographic consolidation, mountaineering expeditions and other such boundary-claiming actions without further delay.
"A study to look at the issue holistically is the need of the hour," the former Indian Army officer said.