Wednesday, 22 November 2017

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Hitting back at China over Arunachal Pradesh, India on Thursday said that assigning invented names to towns of the neighbour does not make illegal territorial claims legal. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay also asserted that Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India. "Assigning invented names to towns of your neighbour does not make illegal territorial claims legal. Arunachal Pradesh is and will always be an integral part of India," Baglay told reporters. When asked if India has taken up the matter with China, he said the Chinese government has not communicated anything officially so far and the ministry has seen only reports on the development. China had yesterday announced that it had 'standardised' official names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh and had termed the provocative move as a 'legitimate action'. Their move had come days after Beijing had lodged strong protests with India over the Dalai Lama's visit to the frontier state. The state media in Beijing had said that the move was aimed at reaffirming China's claim over Arunachal Pradesh. China claims the state as 'South Tibet'. "China's Ministry of Civil Affairs announced on April 14 that it had standardised in Chinese characters, Tibetan and Roman alphabet the names of six places in 'South Tibet', which India calls 'Arunachal Pradesh', in accordance with the regulations of the central government," state-run Global Times had reported. The official names of the six places using the Roman alphabet are Wo'gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidengarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bumo La and Namkapub Ri. "These names reflect China's territorial claim over South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh) is supported by clear evidence in terms of history, culture and administration," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had told reporters, as per PTI. Defending the action to standardise the names, Lu had said, "to issue these names is actually carried out in accordance with the regulations about the names of the localities and it is a legitimate action by the Chinese government". "Let me stress that about the Indian government's indulgence of (the) Dalai Lama activities in disputed eastern section of the India-China boundary and also about his anti- China activities, this is something we are firmly against. These activities are also against the Indian government's commitments to China," Lu had added when asked about the significance of standardisation of names. Asked why it took China so long to standardise the names and whether the sudden move was in retaliation to the Dalai Lama's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, he had further said that China chose this time to announce the standardisation as it was now doing a second census of names of localities and an important part of it was to standardise names in ethnic languages. "In the next step, we will also step up our study of those names in Tibetan ethnic languages and in the next step we will announce more standardisation of these names," he had gone on to say said. Reiterating that China's claims over the east section of India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh were clear and consistent, Lu had said, "these names have been passed on from generation to generation by people who have lived there for generations, the Tibetan ethnic and Monpa ethnic groups. It is also an example that shows China has clear administration over these areas and there are many activities by the Chinese people in that area." China's move had come just days after the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which was seventh since the 81-year-old spiritual leader fled from Tibet through Tawang and sought refuge in India. During the Dalai Lama's Arunachal Pradesh visit, China had warned India that it will take "necessary measures" to defend its territorial sovereignty and interests. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covers Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war. The two sides have so far held 19 rounds of Special Representatives talks to resolve the boundary dispute. (With PTI inputs)

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