China renames 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh but not for the first time

15 places were renamed to ascertain their authority despite Indian opposition and rebuttal of Chinese claims that Arunachal Pradesh belongs to South Tibet

China seems to continue their coercive policy of claiming parts of Indian territories as theirs. To strategise their policy, China has renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs has refuted their claims and asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is part of India. They have said that China cannot change reality by assigning invented names to places. The MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said, “Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always remain an integral part of India. Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact.”

“We have seen such reports. It is not the first time China has attempted such a renaming of places in Arunachal Pradesh. China had also sought to assign such names in April 2017,’’ Bagchi added.

But these repeated similar statements are making no difference. In the shadow of Covid, Chinese hostilities have kept on increasing.

Not the first time!

Chinese officials had earlier renamed six places in 2017. With four and a half years, they have renamed more than double places compared to 2017. Of these 15 places, eight are residential areas, four mountain areas, one mountain pass and two rivers. The exact longitude and latitude are yet to be known.

The names of these places were issued by the State Council, equivalent to the Chinese Cabinet. According to our not-so-friendly neighbour, China, around 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh is part of southern Tibet. They call the area Zangnan in Mandarin and sometimes parenthetically refer to it as so-called-Arunachal Pradesh.

This is a second lot of issuing “standardised” names of places in the northeastern state. On April 14, 2017, its Ministry of Civil Affairs had issued “official” Chinese names for six places in the state and announced that it was just the first batch.

These places were Tawang, Kra Daadi, West Siang, Siang (has Mechuka, an emerging tourist destination), Anjaw, and Subansiri, respectively.

The six names on that list then were “Wo’gyainling”, “Mila Ri”, “Qoidengarbo Ri”, “Mainquka”, “Bumo La” and “Namkapub Ri”. They were written in the Roman alphabet. These are methods of asserting their claims of not accepting the McMohan line.

They have routinely issued statements whenever Indian political hotshots visit the area. They had even issued a statement when Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu went to address the state Assembly in October.

China renames 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh but not for the first time
The disputed border of Arunachal Pradesh

Indian diplomatic defence against China

India and China relations have not scored any types of highest marks in the last few years despite a few rounds of talks between the Indian and Sino dignities. But as said that the modern world is entangled in the cobwebs of global business policy, Sino-India relations are slowly expanding their business policy

Indo-China bilateral trade has crossed $100 billion in the first 11 months of this year to a total of $114.26 billion, a 46.4% increase on year. While Indian exports to China increased 38.5% to $26.358 billion, imports from Beijing rose by 49% to $87.905 billion.

Chinese dependency on India for rice has increased steadily within the last two years. As per S&P Global, “Indian rice has come from representing less than 1% of Chinese rice imports in 2020 to representing 23% so far in 2021, making it the largest supplier of rice to China.”

Indian line of defence against China

The Indian military has already raised concern about China as one of their prime threats, late CDS General Bipin Rawat said in June. But Indian defence is slowly gaining ground by inducting weapons and firearms.

They have deployed the newly upgraded L-70 air defence guns, several units of the 155 mm Bofors and the M-777 lightweight howitzers into the Eastern Sector to ramp up its defensive and offensive capabilities against China.

India has also set up a series of Integrated Defended Locations (IDLAs) along the LAC, a multi-tiered defensive system like the infantry, artillery, aviation, air defence, mechanised and armoured columns of the Army work as one unit backed by the Indian Air Force assets.

During the Indo-China skirmish in Ladakh, large portions of light machine guns were inducted to strengthen the Army.

They had inducted new and upgraded L-70 air defence guns with 24 hours vision and automatic target acquisition mode. The first of these guns that can take down a flying target within the range of 3.5 km are kept camouflaged in the mountainous terrain of Arunachal Pradesh.

However, it is to be seen that to what extent Indian military and diplomacy can hold China at bay.

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