News and Views on Tibet

Assam CM proposes Tit-for-Tat response to China’s gimmick

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Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (Photo/Maktoob media)

By Tsering Dhundup

DHARAMSHALA, April 3: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma suggested on Tuesday that India should rename 60 places in the occupied Tibet in response to recent actions by Beijing renaming 30 places in Arunachal Pradesh. 

Speaking to journalists after a BJP election meeting in central Assam’s Karbi Anglong, Sarma emphasized the need for reciprocity, stating, “My request to the Government of India is that we should give 60 geographical names for the Tibetan area of China. It should be always tit for tat but I do not want to comment because it is a policy decision of the Government of India, but if they name 30, we should name 60.”

Pema Khandu, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, labelled China’s actions as “another gimmick,” expressing strong condemnation “Being a proud citizen of Bharat and a native of Arunachal Pradesh, I strongly condemn this act of naming places within Arunachal Pradesh which has been an inalienable integral part of India. Proud citizens and patriots of Arunachal Pradesh are rejecting such antics,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Two days after Beijing assigned Mandarin and Tibetan names to 30 more places in Arunachal Pradesh of India, New Delhi dismissed the move as “senseless”. “China has persisted with its senseless attempts to rename places in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. We firmly reject such attempts,” Randhir Jaiswal, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said in New Delhi.

China had earlier renamed six places in Arunachal Pradesh of India in Mandarin and Tibetan in April 2017, 15 more places in December 2021 and 11 more places in April 2023. Beijing claims 90,000 sq. km of areas in Arunachal Pradesh of India as part of the territory of China and calls it Zangnan or south Tibet.

Beijing also claims a 2,000 sq. km area in the Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. New Delhi claims that China is illegally occupying about 38,000 sq. km of India’s territory in Aksai Chin, which borders eastern Ladakh. Pakistan also ceded about 5,180 sq. km of India’s territory in 1963 to China.

In April-May 2020, China initiated a provocative and unilateral action aimed at altering the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto boundary between occupied Tibet and India, particularly in eastern Ladakh. This move involved the deployment of a substantial contingent of troops from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). In response, the Indian Army was compelled to deploy additional forces to counter China’s attempts to encroach upon Indian territory and push the LAC further westward.

Negotiations led to the withdrawal of front-line troops by both the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA from some areas. However, the standoff persisted at several points along the LAC. China has claimed that the mutual withdrawal of troops from Patrolling Point 15 (Gogra-Hot springs area) in September 2022 signalled the return to normalcy along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. This claim seems intended to pressure India into accepting the current situation in the Depsang and Demchok areas, where the Chinese PLA still restricts the Indian Army’s access to several patrolling points along the LAC.

In December 2022, Indian Army soldiers prevented an attempt by the Chinese PLA to alter the status quo near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. China’s continued efforts to assert territorial claims in the region signifies ongoing challenges to India’s sovereignty as per critics, amid broader geopolitical tensions between the two nations.

One Response

  1. What India need to do is to rectify India’s unforgivable blunder of endorsing Communist China’s baseless and fabricated claims over Tibet! India must acknowledge its gross mistake and RECOGNISE TIBET AS AN OCCUPIED COUNTRY! This is the truth and history is witness to Tibet’s independence! That will solve all of India’s agony on the Indo-Tibet border! Every Indian who has a little knowledge of history, is aware that there was NO INDIA-CHINA border before the illegal Chinese occupation of Tibet! IT WAS INDO-TIBET BORDER!!!

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