Beijing ‘renames’ six places in Arunachal, post Dalai Lama visit

New Delhi, April 19 In the aftermath of India allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, the state regarded by China as “South Tibet”, Beijing has decided to “standardise” Chinese language names of six towns in the eastern state. The move, though purely symbolic, is China’s latest signal to India that it regards these territories as its own. The State-run Global Times (GT) reported today that “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.” The official names of the six places using the Roman alphabet are Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidengarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bumo La and Namkapub Ri. The move is likely to have serious ramifications for India-China border talks. The two sides have so far held 19 rounds of talks with special representatives to resolve the boundary dispute. The symbolic gesture of standardising the names of six places can translate into a future argument where China claims total territorial rights over them, pointing to their Chinese-origin names.