China has reportedly renamed six places in Arunachal Pradesh. According to the news agency PTI, China has announced ‘standardised’ official names for 6 places in Arunachal Pradesh in what is believed to be its first reaction against 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to the state earlier this month. The state media said the move was aimed at reaffirming China’s claim over the state which it believes to be ‘South Tibet’. “China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs announced on April 14 that it had standardised in Chinese characters, Tibetan and Roman alphabet the names of six places in ‘South Tibet’, which India calls ‘Arunachal Pradesh’, in accordance with the regulations of the central government,” state-run Global Times reported on Wednesday.
The official names of the six places using the Roman alphabet are Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidêngarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bümo La and Namkapub Ri. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covers Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.
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“The standardisation came amid China’s growing understanding and recognition of the geography in South Tibet. Naming the places is a step to reaffirm China’s territorial sovereignty to South Tibet,” Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at Beijing’s Minzu University of China, was quoted as saying. “These names have existed since ancient times, but had never been standardised before. Therefore, announcing the names is like a remediation,” Guo Kefan, a research fellow at the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences, said.
Guo added that standardising the names from the angle of culture can serve as a reference when the two countries will negotiate the border issue in the future. “The South Tibet region is located alongside China’s southwestern border and India’s north-eastern border where Sino-Indian border disputes are centred,” the report added. “We urge the Indian side to observe its commitment on Tibet-related issues and implement our consensus namely they should not use Dalai Lama to undermine the interests of China. Only in this way can we create a good atmosphere to the settlement of the boundary question, ” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had said.
(with input from PTI)