Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

China issues ‘official’ names for 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: McMahol Line, Shimla Convention

Mains level: India-China Border Issue

China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs has issued standardized names for 15 places in the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh, to be used henceforth on official Chinese maps.

MEA clarification

  • The Ministry of External Affairs has dismissed the Chinese “invention”.
  • Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be, an integral part of India, said MEA.

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.

Earlier unilateral renamings

  • This is the second lot of “standardized” names of places in Arunachal Pradesh that China has announced.
  • Earlier in 2017, it had issued “official” Chinese names for six places spanning the breadth of Arunachal Pradesh

What is China’s argument for claiming these areas?

  • The PRC disputes the legal status of the McMahon Line, the official boundary under the ‘Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet’ — of 1914 (Simla Convention).
  • 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.

What is the McMohan Line?

  • 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.

Intention behind these renamings

  • This renaming 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.
  • Beijing keeps harping on its “consistent” and “clear” position that the Indian possession of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • These claims have been firmly established and recognized by the world, as “illegal”.

Arunachal not all-alone

  • Laying aggressive claims to territories on the basis of alleged historical injustices done to China is a part of Beijing’s foreign policy playbook.
  • The claim on Taiwan is one such example, as are the consistent efforts to change the “facts on the ground” in several disputed islands in the South China Sea.
  • The aggression is at all times backed in overt and covert ways by the use of China’s economic and military muscle.

Also read:

[RSTV Archive] India-China Ties Post-Galwan


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