China on Friday dismissed India’s charge of inventing names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh, saying it is its ‘lawful right’ to do so, as reported by news agency PTI. China was responding to the Ministry of External Affairs’ statement on Thursday where it told a group of journalists in New Delhi that inventing names of states of a neighbour does not make illegal occupation legal. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said China’s position on the eastern section of the India- China boundary is clear and consistent, referring to Arunachal Pradesh. “Relevant names have been used by ethnic Momba and Tibetan Chinese who have lived here for generations. So it is a fact that cannot be changed. To standardise these names and publicise them is a legitimate measure based on our lawful right,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
The renaming controversy made headlines on Thursday when China had announced it has ‘standardised’ official names for six places in the Northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh and termed the provocative move as ‘legitimate action’. In response, India reiterated that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India. In a statement to the media yesterday, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said “renaming or inventing names of states of your neighbour do not make illegal occupation as legal”.
The six names renamed by China are as follows: Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidengarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bumo La and Namkapub Ri. The corresponding names with their latitude and longitude taken into account list these places as Tawang, Kra Daadi, West Siang, Siang, Anjaw and Subansiri respectively. While some experts have viewed China’s latest move as a way to underscore its territorial sovereignty, China has said the decision to rename areas was a part of a census exercise indicating that more could follow.
Meanwhile, earlier today, Chinese state-run media warned India that it will pay ‘dearly’ if it continues to play the Dalai Lama card. Beijing had lodged vociferous diplomatic protests with India over the Buddhist spiritual leader’s visit to the Northeastern state earlier this month and warned that it would have a negative impact on the efforts to resolve the border dispute. After the Dalai Lama’s nine-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh, China had said that India should not use the Tibetan spiritual leader to undermine China’s interests.
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 the Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.