Updated: January 7, 2022 6:59:32 am
India on Thursday reacted sharply to China’s recent actions, calling the naming of places in Arunachal Pradesh a “ridiculous exercise” to support “untenable claims”; the writing of letters to Indian MPs for attending a Tibet event as “inappropriate” in “tone, tenor and substance”; and saying the bridge over Pangong lake is being constructed in areas under “illegal occupation by China”.
These comments were made by the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson at a virtual briefing on Thursday.
Responding to questions on renaming of places in Arunachal Pradesh at a media briefing, the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We had seen reports of the Chinese side naming some places in Arunachal Pradesh last week. At that time, we had conveyed our views on such a ridiculous exercise to support untenable territorial claims.”
He said that “calling Tuting as “DouDeng” or River Siyom as “XiYueMu” or Kibithu as “Daba” does not alter the fact that Arunachal Pradesh has always been and will always remain an inalienable part of India.”
India is concerned at the uptick in China’s hostility as the two countries are in a border standoff for 20 months now. By responding through statements while maintaining a defensive posture at the border, Delhi is sending a strong signal.
“We hope that instead of engaging in such antics, China will work constructively with us to resolve the outstanding friction points in areas along the Western Sector of the LAC in India-China border areas,” the MEA spokesperson said.
Last month, China announced names in Chinese characters and Tibetan and Roman alphabets for 15 more places in Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims as “South Tibet”. China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs announced it had “standardised” the names of 15 places in Zangnan, the Chinese name for Arunachal Pradesh.
Delhi had reacted sharply, saying Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and “assigning invented names to places” does not “alter this fact”.
This is the second batch of standardised names of places in Arunachal Pradesh given by China. The first batch of six place names was released in 2017.
As regards reports about a bridge being made by the Chinese side on the Pangong lake, the MEA spokesperson said the government has been monitoring this activity closely.
“This bridge is being constructed in areas that have been under illegal occupation by China for around 60 years now. As you are well aware, India has never accepted such illegal occupation,” he said.
Continuing with the infrastructure build-up close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh on their side, China is building a new bridge on Pangong Tso, which will provide an additional axis to mobilise its troops faster between the north and south banks of the lake. Sources said the bridge is being constructed more than 20 km east of Finger 8 on the north bank of the lake, which according to India is where the LAC passes through. The bridge is just east of Khurnak Fort, where China has major frontier defence bases, in Rutong Country.
Regarding the letter by the Chinese Embassy to Indian MPs, the MEA spokesperson said, “The substance, tone and tenor of the letter are inappropriate. The Chinese side should note that India is a vibrant democracy and Hon’ble MPs, as representatives of the people, undertake activities as per their views and beliefs. We expect the Chinese side to refrain from hyping normal activities by Honourable MPs and complicate further the situation in our bilateral relations,” he said.
A week after a group of Parliamentarians, including a Union MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar, attended a dinner reception hosted by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile on December 22, the Chinese Embassy in Delhi had last month expressed “concern” over their participation and asked them to “refrain from providing support to the ‘Tibetan independence’ forces”.
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