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China has announced its 'standardised' names of several places in Arunachal Pradesh in the past as well, as it tries to assert its territorial claims in a dispute that goes back to Shimla Agreement.
China has recently released a list of “new names” for 15 places in Aruchanal Pradesh. The country’s Ministry of Civil Affairs announced on December 29 that it was releasing the “standardised” names of 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh. The names were standardised in accordance with the rules laid out by the State Council, China’s cabinet of ministers, on geographical names.
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Among the 15 places which were marked down with geographical coordinates, eight are residential areas, four are mountains, two are rivers and one is a mountain pass, reported the Global Times.
Why is China doing this
China is announcing “standardised” names for places in Arunachal Pradesh as the country claims around 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh as its own territory. China tries to assert its claims over the territory through multiple channels. The release of the “standardised” names has been a tactic that the country has used in the past as well.
The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs had announced the “official” Chinese names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh, which it started calling “South Tibet” back in 2017. China had at the time stated that the six names were from the “first batch” of “standardised” names.
Other channels used by China to try and assert its claims are to lodge diplomatic protests when senior Indian leaders and dignitaries visit the state and ensuring that maps and geographic services used in China show the state as part of Chinese territory.
What does India say
India, in response, has stated that issuing names to existing places does not take away the sovereignty of India over those places.
“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. 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,” said Arindam Bagchi, Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson.
Also read: Indian troops on high alert after China’s Twitter posts threaten military action in Arunachal: Report
Why China claims Arunachal as its own
China’s claims to the territory in Arunachal Pradesh comes from the contention over the establishment of the McMahon Line. The line demarcated the borders of Tibet and British controlled India in 1914. While representatives from Tibet, Britain and China were present in the ‘Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet’ or the Shimla Convention, the Chinese representative had claimed that Tibet had no independent authority to enter into international agreements since it was a territory of the Chinese Empire.
While China at the time did not have the means to assert or even protest against the claims, ever since the Chinese Communist Party came to power, it has made clear its wishes to reverse the territorial “losses” the country suffered during the so-called century of humiliation, also known as ‘the hundred years of national humiliation.’ Other territorial claims include Taiwan, the South and the East China Sea, and several islands.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)