China has responded to India’s objection of its new “standard” map – which claims ownership of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin region in eastern Ladakh – calling it “the normal exercise of sovereignty in accordance with law”. Wang Xiaojian, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, shared details of a briefing by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, in which he said, “We hope relevant sides stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue.”
On Tuesday External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had summarily dismissed China’s new “map”, telling NDTV in an exclusive interview Beijing has a “habit” of releasing such maps.
“China has put out maps with territories (that are) not theirs. (It is an) old habit. Just by putting out maps with parts of India… this doesn’t change in anything. Our government is very clear about what our territory. Making absurd claims does not make other people’s territories yours,” he said.
India has filed a formal protest through diplomatic channels, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi posted on X (formerly Twitter) after the release of the “map”.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) August 29, 2023
“We reject the claims as they have no basis. Such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question,” the Indian government said in its response.
Timing Of China’s New Map
China’s new “map” comes days before India hosts the G20 Summit in Delhi next weekend and shortly after last week’s “informal conversation” between China President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BRICS Summit in South Africa.
The Prime Minister had then conveyed to Mr Jinping India’s “concerns over unresolved issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and other areas along the India-China border”.
The two leaders agreed to work for “expeditious de-escalation” along the LAC, where tensions have been high since June 2020 – when the two sides clashed in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
Mr Jinping is due in Delhi next week to attend the G20 Summit.
India On China ‘Renaming’ Places In Arunachal
In April the Indian government rejected China’s bid to rename 11 locations within Arunachal Pradesh, which it also calls ‘Zangnan’ – the third time Beijing has attempted such an egregious move after 2018 and 2021 – and asserted the northeastern state has been and will always be an integral part of India.
“We have seen such reports. This is not the first time China has made such an attempt. We reject this outright,” Mr Bagchi had said then, adding, “Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Attempts to assign invented names will not alter this reality.”
Opposition attacks PM Modi
Meanwhile, China’s new “map” has triggered a political row in India, with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today taking on PM Modi and demanding a response from the Prime Minister.
“I have been saying for years that what the PM said, that not one inch of land was lost in Ladakh, is a lie. The entire Ladakh knows that China has transgressed. This map issue is very serious. They have taken away the land. PM should say something about it,” Mr Gandhi said.