NEW DELHI: India hit out at China for giving "invented" names to several places in a disputed Himalayan region on their border as Beijing looks to assert sovereignty over the territory.
Several stretches of the lengthy frontier are disputed, and relations have soured dramatically since 20 Indian soldiers died in a brawl in June 2020 on one section between Ladakh and Tibet.
Since then, both sides have reinforced the region with thousands of extra soldiers and military hardware as multiple rounds of talks have failed to de-escalate tensions.
This week, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said that it had "standardised" the names of 15 places in Zangnan ("South Tibet") – Beijing's title for the region India calls Arunachal Pradesh – and gave them all formal Chinese names.
The renaming of residential areas, rivers and mountains followed a similar move in 2017 involving six other locations in the same area.
"Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be, an integral part of India," India's foreign ministry said on Thursday (Dec 30).
"Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact," spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.