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Renaming parts of Arunachal Pradesh is our ‘lawful right’, says China

A section of the state-run Chinese media also warned India against what it described as ‘playing the Dalai Lama card’.

China on Friday dismissed India’s concerns over its renaming of six places in Arunachal Pradesh and said that doing so was its “lawful right”, PTI reported. A section of the state-run Chinese media also warned India against what it described as “playing the Dalai Lama card”, the news agency added.

“China’s position on the eastern section of the India-China boundary is clear and consistent,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. “Relevant names have been used by ethnic Momba and Tibetan Chinese who have lived here for generations. So it is a fact that cannot be changed. To standardise these names and publicise them is a legitimate measure based on our lawful right,” he said, according to PTI.

Days after Beijing lodged protests with India over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs had announced “standardised” official names for six places in the North Eastern state. China claimed the frontier state, “which India calls Arunachal Pradesh”, as South Tibet. The standardised names have been announced in Chinese characters, Tibetan and Roman alphabet. In the Roman alphabet, these places have been called: Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidêngarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bümo La and Namkapub Ri.

In response to this, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Gopal Baglay on Thursday said that the announcement did not “make an illegal occupation legal”. Baglay added that Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India.

An opinion piece in the state-run Global Times, titled “India playing Dalai card worsens territorial spats with China”, said, “It is time for India to do some serious thinking over why China announced the standardised names in South Tibet at this time.” “Putting the Dalai Lama into its toolbox against China is another trick played by New Delhi lately. New Delhi would be too ingenuous to believe that the region belongs to India simply because the Dalai Lama says so,” the piece said.

“India seems to have become trapped in its stubbornness to measure its strength with China. But territorial disputes cannot be settled by comparing which side is stronger or which country has more leverage. Otherwise, there is no need for Beijing to sit down with New Delhi at the negotiating table,” it added.

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