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US ‘strongly opposes’ latest Chinese bid to rename territories in Arunachal Pradesh


NEW DELHI, APRIL 3: The United States has expressed strong opposition to China’s assertion of sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, terming it “unilateral attempts” by Beijing to assert its territorial claims. Washington’s response comes after China released another list of Chinese names for 30 locations in India’s Northeastern State.
According to a report by the South China Morning Post (SMCP), an official of the US State Department said: “The United States strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to advance territorial claims by incursions or encroachments, military or civilian, across the Line of Actual Control.”
China has been calling Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet and laying its claim over this 90,000 sq km area, which India has always asserted to be an integral part of the country. Beijing has named the area ‘Zangnan and routinely objects to Indian leaders’ visits to the state to highlight its claims.
China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs unveiled its 4th list of standardised geographical names in Zangnan, the Chinese term for Arunachal Pradesh, according to the state-run Global Times report on Sunday.
On Tuesday, India outright rejected the move as “senseless” and asserted that assigning “invented” names does not alter the reality that the State “is, has been, and will always be” an integral part of India.
“China has persisted with its senseless attempts to rename places in the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh. We firmly reject such attempts”, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.
“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”, he said in response to media queries on the matter.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar reasserted the MEA’s comments and emphasised that by doing it repeatedly, it is still senseless.
Addressing a press conference, Jaishankar had said, “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.”
Notably, India has repeatedly rejected China’s territorial claims over Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the State is an integral part of the country. New Delhi has also dismissed Beijing’s move to assign “invented” names to the area, saying it did not alter reality.
The latest territorial dispute over Arunachal Pradesh has reignited following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the State on March 9 to inaugurate the Sela Tunnel. The tunnel, constructed at an altitude of 13,000 feet, and India’s bolstering of its military readiness through this infrastructure enhancement have contributed to the escalation.
In response to these events, the Chinese military had reiterated its claim over Arunachal Pradesh, calling the area an “inherent part of China’s territory”, a claim that India called “absurd and baseless”.
Similarly, On March 21, the United States had expressed its opposition to Chinese claimsand asserted that it recognised Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory, days after Beijing reiterated its claim in the aftermath of
Speaking at his daily press conference, State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel had said: “The United States recognises Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory and we strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to advance territorial claims by incursions or encroachments, military or civilian, across the Line of Actual Control.”
Beijing had objected to Washington’s statement, claiming that its border with India has never been delimited. “The China-India boundary question is a matter between the two countries and has nothing to do with the US side”, a Chinese Government spokesperson had said in response.
This is the 4th such attempt by China to rename regions within Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing had released the first list of the so-called standardised names of 6 places in Zangnan in 2017, while the 2nd list of 15 places was issued in 2021, followed by another list with names for 11 places in 2023.
In August 2023, China released a new “standard map” for 2023 showing Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as part of its territory. It had defended its decision by claiming that it was a “routine practice” in accordance with its law and urged India to “stay objective and calm” and refrain from “over-interpreting” the issue.
India had rejected the move, asserting that Beijing’s claims “have no basis” and that such steps only complicate the resolution of the boundary question. “Just making absurd claims does not make other people’s territories yours”, EAM Jaishankar had told NDTV while reacting to China’s renaming tactics.
(Courtesy: TNIE)