The Congress on Tuesday criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government after China released a list of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh that it had “renamed” as part of its attempts to lay claim over the region.

In a statement, Congress Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the step by the Chinese government was a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “eloquent silence” towards Beijing’s actions.

“Arunachal Pradesh has always been and will always remain an integral and unalienable part of India,” Ramesh said. “Such actions by the Chinese get encouragement from the PM’s [Narendra Modi] silence on their continued transgressions.”

China lays territorial claims over a large portion of Arunachal Pradesh, claiming that it is “South Tibet”. However, India has rejected these claims.

On April 2, a notification issued by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs said that it has “standardised some geographical names in southern Tibet”. The 11 places include five mountain peaks, two residential areas, two land areas, and two rivers. A town close to the state capital Itanagar is among the places that Beijing says it has renamed.

In response, India said it outrightly rejects China’s claims of having renamed the places. The External Affairs Ministry said that Beijing’s attempts to “assign invented names” will not change the reality of Arunachal Pradesh being a part of India.

On Tuesday, Ramesh claimed that China’s action was also the price of the “clean chit” that Modi gave to Beijing during the border standoff in 2020.

He was referring to Modi’s claim that no outsider had entered Indian territory in Ladakh nor had any border post of the Indian Army been captured by outside forces during the face-off with Chinese troops that year.

“Almost three years later, Chinese forces continue to deny our patrol access to the strategic Depsang Plains to which we previously had unimpeded access,” Ramesh said. “And now the Chinese are attempting to undermine the status quo in Arunachal Pradesh.”

Beijing’s actions came amid a border standoff between Indian and Chinese troops that began after the two sides clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.

In December, Indian and Chinese troops had clashed in the Yangtse area of the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh. Chinese soldiers attempted to “unilaterally change the status quo” by transgressing the Line of Actual Control in the Tawang sector on December 9, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told Parliament.