BEIJING: India on Wednesday got a feel of playing Chinese checkers as Beijing announced “standardised” official names of six places in Arunachal Pradesh. The move comes days after Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh left China fuming.
The mandarins in South Block maintained a studied silence on the development that indicates China has been rattled with Indian policy of openly backing Dalai Lama, whom Beijing has given the moniker of “wolf in monk’s clothing”.
“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-owned Global Times reported on Wednesday. The move the paper claimed was aimed at reaffirming China’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh that it sees as an extension of Tibet and claims it to be ‘South Tibet’.
The official names of the six places using the Roman alphabet are Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoid ngarbo Ri, Mainquka, B mo La and Namkapub Ri. While the report does not carry the exact locations of the places, intelligent guesses have been taken that B mo La could refer to Bomdi la and Mainquka can mean Mechuka – the place where the Indian Air Force (IAF) recently upgraded its Advanced Landing Ground (ALG).
Sana Hashmi, a researcher with Jawaharlal Nehru University and author of China’s Approach Towards Territorial Dispute: Lessons and Prospects, see the giving Chinese names to places in Indian territory as “pressure tactics”. “They (Chinese) have done that in the past in the South China Sea and the East Sea. The lesson from those regions in that India should rebut such false claims and take appropriate steps on the diplomatic front,” Hashmi added.
China is yet to resolve its territorial dispute with India along the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC), which the experts believe is due to the fact that Beijing likes to negotiate from a position of strength. India has lately exhibited its resolve to stand up to China to make it see New Delhi’s national interests.
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar has earlier exhorted China to be appreciative of India’s interests “especially when they are not in conflict with those of Beijing”. In January this year, the Foreign Secretary told China, which is sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty; need to have “some understanding of other people’s sensitivity on their sovereignty.”