Conflicts - TensionsSouth Asia

India dismisses Beijing’s arbitrary renaming of 30 places in Himalayan border state


India rejected the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) renaming of about 30 places in India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, calling Beijing’s arbitrary move “senseless” and reaffirming that the border province is an “integral” part of India.

New Delhi repeatedly has dismissed Beijing’s claims to the Himalayan state. The PRC similarly ratcheted up tensions in 2023 by designating Chinese names for 11 other locations in the state.

“Assigning invented names will not alter the reality that Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India,” Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in early April 2024.

The state is a frequent cause of friction between the world’s two most-populous nations, whose relations plummeted after a deadly border clash between their troops in the western Himalayas in 2020. The nuclear-armed nations’ forces also scuffled along the disputed frontier in late 2022, although tensions eased after extensive military and diplomatic talks.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that “changing names will not do anything.”

“If I change the name of your house, does it become my house?” he said.

In March 2024, Beijing complained about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state to inaugurate infrastructure projects. New Delhi dismissed the complaints as “baseless.”

The United States said it recognizes Arunachal Pradesh as part of India and that it “strongly opposed” any unilateral attempts to make claims on the territory by military or civilian “incursion or encroachments.”

India and China share a 3,800-kilometer border — much of it poorly demarcated — over which they fought a war in 1962. Twenty Indian Soldiers and at least four Chinese troops were killed in hand-to-hand combat in 2020, prompting both countries to fortify positions and deploy extra troops and equipment along the border.

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