Recently, China renames 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The Ministry of External Affairs has dismissed the Chinese “invention”.
- In a statement, the official spokesperson of the ministry said, “Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be, an integral part of India.
- Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact.”
Why is China giving names to places that are in India?
- China claims some 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory. It calls the area “Zangnan” in the Chinese language and makes repeated references to “South Tibet”. Chinese maps show Arunachal Pradesh as part of China, and sometimes parenthetically refer to it as “so-called Arunachal Pradesh”.
- China makes periodic efforts to underline this unilateral claim to Indian territory. Giving Chinese names to places in Arunachal Pradesh is part of that effort.
- This is a second lot of “standardised” names of places in Arunachal Pradesh that China has announced.
- The six names on that list then, written in the Roman alphabet, were “Wo’gyainling”, “Mila Ri”, “Qoidengarbo Ri”, “Mainquka”, “Bumo La” and “Namkapub Ri”.
- The latitude and longitude listed with the names showed those places as Tawang, Kra Daadi, West Siang, Siang (where Mechuka or Menchuka is an emerging tourist destination), Anjaw, and Subansiri respectively.
- These six places spanned the breadth of Arunachal Pradesh — “Wo’gyainling” in the west, “Bumo La” in the east and the other four located in the central part of the state.
China’s argument for claiming these areas?
- The People’s Republic of China disputes the legal status of the McMahon Line, the boundary between Tibet and British India that was agreed at the Simla Convention — officially the ‘Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet’ — of 1914.
- China was represented at the Simla Convention by a plenipotentiary of the Republic of China, which had been declared in 1912 after the Qing dynasty was overthrown. (The present communist government came to power only in 1949, when the People’s Republic was proclaimed.)
- The Chinese representative did not consent to the Simla Convention, saying Tibet had no independent authority to enter into international agreements.
- The McMohan Line, named after Henry McMahon, the chief British negotiator at Shimla, was drawn from the eastern border of Bhutan to the Isu Razi pass on the China-Myanmar border. China claims territory to the south of the McMahon Line, lying in Arunachal Pradesh.
- China also bases its claims on the historical ties that have existed between the monasteries in Tawang and Lhasa.
What does China seek to gain from making these claims?
- It is a part of the Chinese strategy to assert its territorial claims over Indian territory.
- As part of this strategy, China routinely issues statements of outrage whenever an Indian dignitary visits Arunachal Pradesh.
Will the new border law adopted by China complicate the situation along the India-China border?
- China’s national legislature – the National People’s Congress (NPC) – on October 23 adopted a new law on the protection and exploitation of the land border areas which drew sharp reaction from India as it was passed amid a protracted military standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh region.
- China said its new land border law will not impact the implementation of the existing border treaties and urged relevant countries to avoid making “wanton speculation” about a “normal domestic legislation”, a day after India raised concerns over the legislation.
- Over the years, India and China have worked out a host of agreements to resolve and handle the border differences.
- These include the Special Representatives mechanism, the Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles of 2005, the WMCC (Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs) besides protocols and CBMs to ensure peace and tranquility along the LAC.
- Both the countries have already held 22 rounds of border talks under the framework of the Special Representatives dialogue, which was set up to find an early solution to the border dispute.
- India and China have also been maintaining that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.
- However, China promulgated the new land boundary law in the midst of a 17-month border standoff between the two countries in eastern Ladakh. The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.
- As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
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