Several stretches of the long border have been disputed by China and India, as a result of which relations have deteriorated dramatically since 20 Indian soldiers were killed in fighting in June 2020 in a section between Ladakh and Tibet.
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Since then, both sides have bolstered the region with thousands of additional troops and military hardware as several rounds of talks have failed to de-escalate tensions.
This week, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said it had “standardized” the names of 15 places in Zangnan (South Tibet) – Beijing’s designation of what India calls Arunachal Pradesh – and gave them all official Chinese names.
The change in the names of residential, river and mountain areas follows a similar move in 2017 involving six other locations in the same area. “Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India,” India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told AFP news agency.
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“Assigning found names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not change this fact,” spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.
While the Chinese side does not want to lose in terms of claiming the disputed territory. “South Tibet is in the China Tibet Autonomous Region, and has historically been Chinese territory. The name change falls within the “sphere of China’s sovereignty,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.