• Wednesday, May 22, 2024

INDIA

Rajnath Singh questions China’s renaming efforts in Arunachal Pradesh

Singh added that India now has capability to respond if someone hurts its honour

Rajnath Singh addresses a public meeting for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections at Kolayat, in Bikaner. (ANI Photo)

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIAN defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday (9) rejected China’s attempts’ to rename places in Arunachal Pradesh and wondered if provinces in that country would become part of India if it changes their names.

In an address at a public rally, Singh also asserted that if someone tries to hurt India’s honour and self-respect, then the country now has the capability to respond to it, remarks that came amid the lingering eastern Ladakh border row.

Late last month, Beijing announced Chinese names for 30 more places in Arunachal Pradesh which the neighbouring country claims as southern part Tibet. India has already trashed China’s action as “senseless”.

“China has changed the names of 30 places in Arunachal Pradesh and posted it on its website. Sisters and brothers, nothing will happen by changing the names,” the defence minister said.

“I want to tell my neighbour that if tomorrow we change the names of some states in some parts of of China, will those states of China become ours by changing the names?,” he asked.

Singh said China should not remain in the misconception that they can lay claim over Arunachal Pradesh by changing the names of the places in the state.

“I believe that such actions will spoil the relations between India and China. In our country, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji used to say that we should always keep in mind that friends change in life but neighbours do not change,” he said.

“India’s thinking is that we want to maintain good relations with all our neighbours. We want to maintain cordial relations. But sisters and brothers, if someone tries to hurt India’s honour, pride and self-respect, it is natural, today India has the capacity to respond to it,” Singh said.

The defence minister also lauded the people of Arunachal Pradesh and described them as “strategic assets”.

“That’s why we have a special feeling of love and respect in our hearts towards all of you. And whenever there was a war with China, the whole of India can never forget the role you played,” he said.

“My sisters and brothers, India will always be indebted to you. This is home for all of us.”

The Chinese ministry of civil affairs released the fourth list of standardised geographical names in Zangnan, the Chinese name for Arunachal Pradesh which Beijing claims as part of south Tibet, state-run Global Times reported on March 31.

In April last year too, India had reacted sharply when Beijing released the third list of standardised names of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh.

The first batch of the standardised names of six places in Arunachal Pradesh was released in 2017 while the second batch of 15 places was issued in 2021.

The ties between India and China came under severe strain following the eastern Ladakh border row that began in May 2020.

(PTI)

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