STORY: India on Thursday (April 20) said renaming or inventing names of your neighbour’s towns do not make illegal occupation legal in wake of China’s decision to rename six towns of northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing calls “South Tibet”.
Spokesperson of India’s foreign ministry, Gopal Baglay, said Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India and it would remain so.
China has issued standardised spellings of the names of six places in Arunachal Pradesh, a region disputed with India, in what China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday (April 19) was an assertion of sovereignty.
China was upset when exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, whom it considers a dangerous separatist, visited the contested stretch of land on the India-China border this month.
Arunachal Pradesh is an eastern Himalayan state administered by New Delhi but claimed by China as South Tibet.
Last week, China’s civil affairs ministry released a list of six places in the region with what China considers to be their formal names, in Chinese, Tibetan and English.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the move was appropriate and reflected the names used by Chinese ethnic groups, such as the Tibetans, over a long time.
Indian officials have dismissed China’s criticism of the Dalai Lama’s second visit to Arunachal Pradesh in eight years, saying he is a spiritual leader who has a devoted following in the region.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India from Tibet in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule, says he wants genuine autonomy for his remote homeland rather than independence.
Despite efforts by China and India to improve ties over recent years, deep suspicions persist, especially over their border dispute.