Arunachal Pradesh: China renames districts in disputed India state

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The Dalai Lama in Arunachal Pradesh earlier in April

China has renamed six districts along a disputed Himalayan border region with India, in a move seen as "retaliation" for a visit by the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, 81, had visited Arunachal Pradesh in India's remote north-east earlier in April.

China had said the visit had a "negative impact" on bilateral relations and warned India against "undermining" Beijing's interests.

India has not yet commented on the Chinese announcement, made on Tuesday.

However, it has maintained that the Dalai Lama's visit was purely for religious reasons. It is also not the first time he has visited the state - he made official trips there in 1983, 1997, twice in 2003 and in 2009.

"China has standardised the names of six places in South Tibet, a region that is part of China's territory but in which some areas are currently controlled by India," a Chinese state media report said.

It dated the decision one day after the Dalai Lama ended his week-long visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

This marks the first time China has officially named regions in the disputed territory.

The announcement was made days after India's foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said there was no change in India's position that Tibet was part of China.