On Dec. 30, Indian officials criticized China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs for inventing new names for 15 sites in the disputed Himalayan border region. 

On Friday, China renamed 15 more locations in Arunachal Pradesh, India’s northeastern state, alleging that Tibet’s southern part is an “inherent part” of its territory. 

After that, India strongly rejected China’s move, saying such actions would not change the region’s status as an integral part of the country.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have seen such. This is not the first time China has attempted such a renaming of places in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. China had also sought to assign such names in April 2017.”

Bagchi later added: “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.”

The statement came after China standardized new names in Chinese for residential areas, rivers, and mountains in the Southern Tibet region.

China previously gave six Chinese names to six areas in Arunachal Pradesh in 2017 and sparked a fierce diplomatic response from India.

In response to the new naming of 15 Himalayan locations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated that Tibet’s southern territory belongs to the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and has always been part of China’s inherent territory. 

In 1951, China claimed control of Tibet and much of the land bordering India, as Newsnpr reported. However, China’s claims to the land south of the Tibetan Plateau are rejected by India. The Indian foreign ministry has repeatedly said that Arunachal Pradesh is “an integral part” of India.

In recent years, the India-China border dispute has escalated dangerously, culminating in a scuffle between soldiers of the two countries in June 2020 in a valley between Ladakh and Tibet, killing at least 20 Indian soldiers and 35 Chinese soldiers

After efforts to negotiate military de-escalation in late 2020 and early 2021, border tensions between India and China resurfaced.

In October, China passed the Land Border Law, allowing its forces to use any means necessary to protect the territorial integrity and land border.

The Indian government then expressed its hope that China would not use this law to take unilateral actions to alter the status quo along their border.

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