Arunachal’s naming conundrum; China’s renaming spree hits 30 LAC locations

Amid escalating tensions, China once again stirred the pot by announcing the renaming of 30 locations in Arunachal Pradesh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This recurrent...

Amid escalating tensions, China once again stirred the pot by announcing the renaming of 30 locations in Arunachal Pradesh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This recurrent move by Beijing, purportedly aimed at standardising geographical names, marks the fourth instance of such renaming efforts, according to reports from a Hong Kong-based daily.

China’s persistent efforts to rename locations in Arunachal Pradesh reflect a broader agenda, potentially aimed at influencing internal dynamics within India, particularly in the context of impending elections. Furthermore, China’s actions reveal a country struggling with internal issues such as an economic slowdown, increasing military corruption, and a weakened leadership. China’s foreign posturing seems to be increasingly like a diversionary strategy amid these pressing home challenges, that ultimately appears hollow on the global scene.

Tensions between the two nations have escalated further following China’s recent diplomatic protest against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, where he inaugurated the Sela Tunnel, constructed at an altitude of 13,000 feet.

The most recent list of “standardised” geographical names was published by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs, which is in charge of creating and designating administrative divisions. It consists of eleven residential areas, twelve mountains, four rivers, one lake, one mountain pass, and a plot of land. These new names include exact latitude and longitude information, a high-resolution map, and Tibetan, Chinese, and pinyin, the Roman alphabet equivalent of Mandarin Chinese.

Quoting the ministry, the South China Morning Post reported, “In accordance with the relevant provisions of China’s cabinet on the management of geographical names, we, in conjunction with the relevant departments, have standardised some of the geographical names in Zangnan of China.”

Despite China’s persistent efforts, India has steadfastly rejected such maneuvers, affirming that Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of its sovereign territory, and that the act of assigning “invented” names holds no bearing on this reality. This sentiment was echoed by Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in 2023, who unequivocally stated, “Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Attempts to assign invented names will not alter this reality.”

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