India objects as China renames places near disputed border


India on Tuesday reacted sharply to Chinaís ërenamingí of locations in Arunachal Pradesh, a remote region claimed by both countries and located along the 3,488-kilometer Line of Actual Control that separates the two neighbors.
Chinaís Ministry of Civil Affairs on Saturday released 30 new names in the disputed border region, which it calls Zangnan and considers a part of Tibet Autonomous Region, Chinese outlet Global Times reported. The renaming covered 11 residential areas, 12 mountains, four rivers, a lake, a mountain pass and a piece of land, with 30 new names in all given in Tibetan and pinyin, the Roman alphabet version of Mandarin Chinese.
Beijing previously released the first list of ìstandardised namesî of six places in the disputed territory in 2017, a second list of 15 places in 2021, followed last year by another list, this one renaming 11 places.
ìChina has persisted with its senseless attempts to rename places in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. We firmly reject such attempts,î Indiaís foreign ministryís spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday. On Monday Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar termed Chinaís renaming of the locations ìsenseless.î He said New Delhi firmly rejected such attempts and sees Arunachal Pradesh as an ìintegral and inalienable part of India.î
Indiaís reaction this time was similar to its stance last year when Beijing released a new ëstandard mapí that showed Zangnan and the Aksai Chin plateau as parts of China. New Delhi rejected the map and lodged a ìstrong protestî against China ìthrough diplomatic channels.î
The latest confrontation comes amid strained ties between the two nuclear-powered Asian giants. Beijing last month criticized a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Zangnan/Arunachal Pradesh to inaugurate a tunnel, which could hasten a deployment of Indian troops to the countriesí agreed frontier. New Delhi hit back, stating that ìrepeating baseless arguments […] does not lend such claims any validity.î
Nonetheless, the two nations held a fresh round of border talks last week. The discussions yielded no major breakthroughs despite both countries expressing a commitment to achieving complete disengagement and resolving the remaining issues. Tensions at the India-China border escalated in 2020 after a clash in the Galwan Valley caused fatalities on both sides. The Indian Army has since maintained a high level of combat readiness while the government ramped up infrastructure development in the high-altitude region, matching upgrades implemented by China.
Meanwhile, Washington has recently waded into the controversy when it recognized Arunachal Pradesh as part of India and ìstrongly opposedî Chinaís ìunilateral attempts to advance territorial claims.î The Chinese Foreign Ministry ìstrongly deploredî and ìfirmly opposedî the US comments. A Global Times editorial earlier this month claimed that USí move seems to be helping India ìon the surface,î but that, in realityîit is handing India a tempting poison.