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Assigning invented names does not alter the fact that Arunachal belongs to India: MEA on China ‘renaming’ 15 places in the state

The 15 places in Arunachal assigned ‘standardised names’ by China included eight residential areas, four mountains, two rivers and one mountain pass

Reacting to reports that China has assigned its own name to 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry of External Affairs has said that such a move does not alter the fact that Arunachal is an integral part of India.

A statement issued by the MEA spokesperson said:

“We have seen such reports. 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.”

Earlier today, the Chinese state media house Global Times had reported that China has ‘standardised’ the names of 15 places in Zangnan, the name China uses for Arunachal, ‘based on sovereignty and history’. The report had said that China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs has renamed those places in Arunachal, in accordance with regulations on geographical names issued by the State Council, China’s cabinet. The new ‘standardised’ names were issued in Chinese, Tibetan and Roman alphabet

The 15 places assigned ‘standardised names’ included eight residential areas, four mountains, two rivers and one mountain pass. This is the second such step taken by China, the country had ‘renamed’ six places in Arunachal in 2017 as part of its ongoing claim that Arunachal is part of China which it refers to as South Tibet or Zangnan.

‘It is a legitimate move and China’s sovereign right to give them standardized names. More standardized place names in the region will be announced in the future,’ Lian Xiangmin, an expert with the China Tibetology Research Center in Beijing, said. He added that ‘it is part of a national effort to standardize the management of place names’.

The eight renamed places are, Sêngkêzong and Daglungzong in Cona County of Shannan Prefecture, Mani’gang, Duding and Migpain in Medog County of Nyingchi, Goling, Damba in Zayu County of Nyingchi, and Mêjag in Lhunze County of Shannan Prefecture. Four mountains that new Chinese names are Wamo Ri, Dêu Ri, Lhünzhub Ri and Kunmingxingzê Feng, the two rivers are Xênyogmo He and Dulain He, and the mountain pass Sê La in Cona County.

It is interesting to note that there is already a mountain pass in Arunachal named Sela Pass, and it is not known whether the name Sê La has been assigned to this pass only.

In 2017, China had renamed 6 places in Arunachal, in apparent retaliation against the Dalai Lama’s visit to the state.

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