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Union Minister Kiren Rijiju slammed China’s move for what Beijing terms as “standardised” geographical names given to 30 places inside Arunachal Pradesh, criticising it as a bid to make “baseless claims”. The response came after China unveiled a fourth list containing 30 new names for various locations in Arunachal Pradesh, continuing its recent efforts to reassert its claims over the Indian state. 

“I strongly condemn China’s illegally ‘standardised’ geographical names given to 30 places inside Arunachal Pradesh. China has been making all baseless claims but that’s not going to change the ground reality and the ‘historical facts’. Arunachal Pradesh is inalienable part of India, & people of Arunachal Pradesh are supremely patriotic Indians by all standards & definitions,” Kiren Rijiju, a member of Lok Sabha from Arunachal West, posted on X.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also criticised Beijing’s renaming of places inside Arunachal while also taking a swipe at the Modi government over the matter, “When China resorts to provocation, PM Modi attempts to seek refuge by a false narrative on Katchatheevu! Even after at least 19 rounds of bilateral  talks with his Chinese counterpart, PM Modi has not able to use any diplomatic influence on China to stop this absurdity of ‘renaming’ Indian territories.”

In the context of the renaming, he stated, “China has been a habitual offender in claiming territories and renaming areas of different countries. We, the people of India, are together in condemning these preposterous actions of China.”

ALSO READ | ‘Mouthpiece Of RSS-BJP’: Chidambaram Accuses Jaishankar Of ‘Somersault’ On Katchatheevu Island Row

India Continues To Oppose China’s Practice Of Renaming Places In Arunachal Pradesh

India has strongly opposed China’s practice of renaming places in Arunachal Pradesh, maintaining that the region is an integral part of India, and altering names does not change this fact.  External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, speaking at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) of the National University of Singapore (NUS) on March 23, dismissed China’s assertions as ludicrous. 

“This is not a new issue. I mean, China has laid claim, it has expanded its claim. The claims are ludicrous to begin with and remain ludicrous today,” he said in response to a question on the Arunachal issue after delivering a lecture, as quoted by news agency PTI.

“So, I think we’ve been very clear, very consistent on this. And I think you know that is something which will be part of the boundary discussions which are taking place,” he remarked.     

According to a report in the state-run Global Times on Sunday, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs released the latest list of standardised geographical names in Zangnan, the Chinese term for Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing insists is part of south Tibet. The ministry’s website published 30 additional names for the region, with implementation set to commence from May 1.

This move is part of a series of statements and actions by China aimed at asserting its territorial claims over Arunachal Pradesh. A recent tussle began with Beijing lodging a diplomatic protest against India following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. During the visit, PM Modi inaugurated the Sela Tunnel, situated at an altitude of 13,000 feet, which enhances all-weather connectivity to strategically significant areas like Tawang and facilitates troop movement along the frontier region.

The Ministry of External Affairs rejected China’s remarks stating that objecting to such visits “does not stand to reason”. ALSO READ | India Rejects China’s Objections, Says Arunachal Pradesh ‘Integral And Inalienable’ Part

The report further highlighted that translations of place names in foreign or minority languages must adhere to standards established by relevant bodies of the Chinese government. These standards are disseminated through official notices, the national geographical names database, and government publications, PTI reported. In April 2022, the State Council issued revised regulations governing the naming, renaming, usage, and cultural protection of geographical names within Chinese territories.

US Reaffirms Recognition Of Arunachal Pradesh As Indian Territory

China’s actions have also drawn criticism from Washington DC.

The United States, in a statement on March 9, reaffirmed its recognition of Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory. “We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to advance territorial claims by incursions or encroachments, military or civilian, across the Line of Actual Control,” he said, as per PTI.

However, the Chinese Foreign and Defence Ministries criticised the US statement, insisting that the boundary issue between China and India is bilateral and unrelated to Washington.

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