India on Tuesday said that it has lodged a “strong protest” with China after it included Arunachal Pradesh, among other regions, in a new edition of its “standard map”.
China, in the 2023 edition of its standard map, released on Monday showed Arunachal Pradesh, the Aksai Chin region, Taiwan and large parts of the South China Sea as part of its territory, according to PTI. India asserts that Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin are parts of its territory.
China sees Taiwan, which is a self-governed territory, as a province that is to be unified with the Chinese mainland. Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have disputed Beijing’s claims over parts of the South China Sea.
The external affairs ministry in a statement on Tuesday dismissed China’s territorial claims, saying they “have no basis”.
The statement added, “Such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question.”
Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar termed China’s assertions as absurd, NDTV reported.
He said that China has a habit of releasing such maps but such claims do not change anything.
“China has put out maps with territories [that are] not theirs,” the foreign minister told NDTV in an interview. “[It is an] old habit. Just by putting out maps with parts of India... this doesn’t change in anything. Our government is very clear about what our territory [is]. Making absurd claims does not make other people’s territories yours.”
In April, China had said that it has “standardised” the names of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, including five mountains and a town near the capital, Itanagar. New Delhi had then declared that “Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India”.
The latest protest comes after India and China held a fresh round of high-level military talks on August 13 and August 14 to resolve the over three-year-old border standoff between the two countries.
A major face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh in June 2020 led to casualties on both sides – the first in many decades. Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.
Commenting on the map released on Monday by China, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said that the entire country is waiting to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response. “There is no hope from the external affairs minister as he has already given in to China,” he said.
The Congress spokesperson noted that China’s action came shortly after the end of the BRICS summit in South Africa’s Johannesburg. BRICS is a grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
“During the BRICS summit, PM Modi stood with folded hands in front of [Chinese president] Xi Jinping,” Khera said.