Guwahati: China has released a set of new names for 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh as part of efforts to reinvigorate its claim over the state. This is the third time China has “renamed” places in Arunachal Pradesh. China calls Arunachal Pradesh ‘Zhangnan, the southern part of Tibet’.

China’s Interior Ministry on Monday released the set of names in Chinese, Tibetan and Pinyin letters, based on geographical names issued as per rules by the State Council of China’s Cabinet.

The first two such lists were released in 2018 and 2021. China had earlier released a list of six names, while in 2021 it had “renamed” 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh. New Delhi had strongly rejected China’s claims on both occasions.

Responding to media queries regarding China renaming places in Arunachal Pradesh, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have seen such reports. This is not the first time China has made such an attempt. We reject it outright.” Arunachal Pradesh is, and will remain, an integral part of India. Such an effort will not change the reality.

According to The Global Times, which is part of the publications of the People’s Daily Group, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party in China, Chinese officials are calling the move a “standardized geographical name”. The first set of names was announced by China in 2017 after the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

China has been strongly critical of the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet via Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and took refuge in India in 1959 after China’s military control over the Himalayan region in 1959.

India and Chinese troops had a face-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tawang sector of the state last December amid a month-long border standoff in eastern Ladakh. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had then accused China of trying to “unilaterally” change the status quo along the LAC.

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