Despite being a bona fide state within the Indian Union, Arunachal Pradesh has been subject to attempts by external entities to assert control over its territory and cultural identity.
Much to India’s chagrin, China recently had recently renamed 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, stirring up the hornet’s nest once again. It is not just about renaming places, it is China’s ongoing propaganda campaign to establish its illegitimate claim over the region fuelled by its expansionist and revisionist agenda.
Renaming of places has been done before by all the colonizers in the past as well as present. For example, after China invaded Tibet in 1950-51, Shigatse became Xigaste, Sakya was Sa'gya, Metok, and north of Arunachal's Upper Siang district, Mutao or Medog.
In 2014, China declared the 'standardised names' for six places in Arunachal Pradesh as well. This strategy of announcing names without having any locus standi flows from its psychological warfare approach against India in tune with China's broader expansionist and irredentist designs in the whole region.
It is pertinent to mention that China's illegitimate claims over Arunachal have been thoroughly debunked by both historical and anthropological evidence as it has more to do with the recent geopolitical realities and China's perception of itself in the changing global order.
The country is becoming a revisionist power, making irrational claims based on its historical understanding of China being the Middle Kingdom.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proclamation of “China Dream” eyeing to capture the historically "lost territories" corroborates such a revisionist outlook.
On the other hand, India has always maintained that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of its territory, and any attempt to change this status quo will be dealt with firmly in accordance with international rules and regulations.