New Delhi: The war of words between India and China over the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh continues with the latter now warning the former of ‘serious consequences’ if it continues to host the Tibetan spiritual leader.
An article in the state-run Global Times claimed on Friday that New Delhi will ‘pay dearly’ for playing the Dalai Lama card in Arunachal Pradesh, over which Beijing claims sovereignty.
The Global Times op-ed, titled ‘India playing Dalai Lama card worsens territorial spats with China’, which was published today, also blasted the Indian media for its reaction over China recently announcing ‘standardised’ names for six towns in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Chinese move “unsurprisingly set the Indian media ablaze”, the article, written by Ai Jun, reads. The Global Times piece also took offence with the comments of Brahma Chellaney, a professor at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi.
Quoting Chellaney’s tweet, which read, “SILLY: China claims India’s Arunachal state but didn’t have names for its various counties. Now it invents the names”, the Global Times calls the argument and other such arguments “absurd.”
“It is time for India to do some serious thinking over why China announced the standardised names in South Tibet at this time,” the article said.
The state-run daily said “playing the Dalai Lama card” was never a wise choice for New Delhi.
“If India wants to continue this petty game, it will only end up in playing dearly for it,” the daily said.
“South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh) is historically part of China and name of the places there is part of the local ethnic culture. It is legitimate for the Chinese government to standardise the names of the places,” it said.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as ‘South Tibet’.
China on April 19 announced that it has “standardised” official names for six places in the northeastern state and termed the provocative move as a “legitimate action”.
The Chinese move came days after Beijing lodged strong protests with India over the Dalai Lama’s visit to the frontier state.
India yesterday hit out at China for giving Chinese names to six areas of Arunachal Pradesh, saying assigning invented names to towns of the neighbour does not make illegal territorial claims legal.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay also asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India.
Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Lu Kang said earlier that Chinese government is conducting the second nationwide survey on geographical names, “an important task to standardise the geographical names in the languages of ethnic minority groups.”
He also said more standardised names will be announced later.
“In the next step, we will also step up our study of those names in Tibetan ethnic languages and in the next step we will announce more standardisation of these names,” he said.
Highlighting China’s stand on the border dispute, the Global Times said,”China has been making efforts to solve the territorial disputes with India, but over the past decades, India has not only increased migration to the disputed area and boosted its military construction there, but it also named Arunachal Pradesh, China’s South Tibet, as a formal state of India in 1987.”
“Putting the Dalai Lama into its toolbox against China is another trick played by New Delhi lately. New Delhi would be too ingenuous to believe that the region belongs to India simply because the Dalai Lama says so,” it said.
“India seems to have become trapped in its stubbornness to measure its strength with China. But territorial disputes cannot be settled by comparing which side is stronger or which country has more leverage. Otherwise, there is no need for Beijing to sit down with New Delhi at the negotiating table,” it said in an apparent reference to 19 rounds of India-China boundary talks.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covers Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.
With PTI inputs