A day after China renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh, New Delhi said that “invented names” did not change the fact that the state has been and always will be an integral part of India, PTI reported.

China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is “South Tibet” – an area that falls under its administrative control. Last year, the country had said that it did not recognise Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India.

“This is not the first time China has attempted such a renaming of places in the state of Arunachal Pradesh,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. “China had also sought to assign such names in April 2017.”

China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs on Wednesday said that it had standardised in Chinese characters, Tibetan and Roman alphabet the names of 15 places in Zangnan, or South Tibet, The Global Times reported. The 15 places include eight residential areas, four mountains, two rivers and a mountain pass.

Lian Xiangmin, an expert with the China Tibetology Research Center in Beijing, said that the renaming was a part of a national effort to standardise the management of place names. “The places have existed for hundreds of years,” he added.

In November, there were reports of China setting up a cluster of buildings in Arunachal Pradesh. The buildings are located about 6 km within India, in the region between the Line of Actual Control and the International Boundary.

The new enclave is about 93 km east of a village that China had reportedly constructed in January. The Union foreign ministry had then said: “India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims.”

Meanwhile, the Indian Army in October had said that China had increased its military drills across the Arunachal Pradesh sector. Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Manoj Pande said that building of infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control by India and China has created certain issues at times.

India and China have also been hosting military talks to resolve the standoff between the two countries in eastern Ladakh.