China says Arunachal part of it since ancient times Congress questions PM’s ‘silence’ on China renaming places in Arunachal

BEIJING/NEW DELHI, 31 Dec: China on Friday defended the renaming of 15 more places in Arunachal Pradesh, claiming that the southern part of Tibet has been “China’s territory since the ancient times.”

India on Thursday strongly rejected China’s renaming 15 places in Arunachal and asserted that the state has “always been” and will “always be” an integral part of India, and that assigning “invented” names does not alter this fact.

India’s reaction came in response to China’s ministry of civil affairs announcing Chinese names for 15 more places in Arunachal, which Beijing claims as South Tibet.

“We have seen such. This is not the first time China has attempted such a renaming of places in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. China had also sought to assign such names in April 2017,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in New Delhi.

“Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India. Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact,” Bagchi said.

Asked for his reaction to India’s assertion, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that Zangnan (the southern part of China’s Tibet) is located in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. “It has been China’s territory since the ancient times,” he said in updated comments posted on the Chinese foreign ministry website.

China refers to Arunachal as Zangnan.

Earlier, Lijian said that the southern part of Tibet belongs to the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and it has been China’s inherent territories.

“China’s ethnic minorities such as the Moinba and Tibetan ethnic groups have lived and worked in this area for a long time, and many place names have been passed down,” he said.

“In order to strengthen the standardized administration of place names, the competent department of the Chinese government, in accordance with the regulation on the administration of geographical names, has announced the second batch of standardized names of places in Zangnan for use by the public, which completely falls within China’s sovereignty, Lijian said in the updated comments.

This is the second batch of standardized Chinese names of places in Arunachal released by China. The first batch of the standardized names of six places was released in 2017.

China claims Arunachal as South Tibet, which is firmly rejected by the external affairs ministry, which has asserted that the state is an “inseparable part of India.”

Beijing routinely protests visits of top Indian leaders and officials to Arunachal to reaffirm its claim.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km long line of actual control.

China’s renaming of the places in Arunachal came in the midst of the lingering eastern Ladakh border standoff that began in May last year.

Cong questions PM’s ‘silence’

Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on China’s renaming the places in Arunachal.

“A few days back, we were remembering India’s glorious victory in the 1971 war. Wise and strong decisions are necessary for ensuring the security and victory of the nation. You cannot win with empty rhetoric,” former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter, referring to a news report on the Chinese move.

Chief Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala described the Modi government as “weak” and accused Modi of remaining “silent” on Chinese “threats” to India’s territorial integrity.

“As the year ends, China threatens our territorial integrity and sovereignty. China has already transgressed and occupied Depsang plains and Gogra hot springs in eastern Ladakh. China has set up a village in Arunachal. Mr 56″ refuses to say a word. Weak Govt, Mum PM,” Surjewala said on Twitter, the 56-inch-chest jibe being a reference to Modi’s assertion during the 2014 parliamentary election campaign that he would adopt a strong policy on national security.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesman Gourav Vallabh wondered when the Prime Minister would “look China in the eye” and take strong steps to counter its moves.

“Will our response be limited to banning Chinese apps, while India-China trade crosses the 100-billion-dollar mark?” Vallabh asked.

He said the government should respond to Chinese moves strongly and assured the support of the Congress in every such step. (PTI)