A day after India registered a strong protest over the matter, China on Wednesday defended its move to release a new "standard map" for 2023 showing Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as part of its territory. It also urged India to "stay objective and calm" and desist from "over-interpreting" the issue claiming it is a "routine practice" in accordance with its law.
Addressing a routine press briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that the Ministry of National Resources of China released the 2023 edition of the standard map on August 23. "It is a routine practice in China's exercise of sovereignty in accordance with the law. We hope relevant sides can stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue," Wang said.
China unveils its "standard map"
Earlier on Monday, August 28, China officially unveiled its "standard map" for 2023, which claimed Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as part of its own territory. The "map" also included the whole South China Sea as part of China, as it had in previous iterations of the map.
India's strong response over Chinese new map
Meanwhile, the Indian Government has strongly responded after China released the map. Responding to the media queries on the so-called 2023 "standard map” of China, Arindam Bagchi, the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that India has lodged a strong protest regarding it.
"We have today (August 29) lodged a strong protest through diplomatic channels with the Chinese side on the so-called 2023 "standard map” of China that lays claim to India’s territory. We reject these claims as they have no basis. Such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question," he added.
It should be noted here that India maintains that Arunachal Pradesh has "always been" and will "always be" an integral part of the country. India has repeatedly told China that "Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India". The map also incorporates as Chinese territory the island of Taiwan and a large part of the South China Sea, both of which China has laid claim to.
The eastern Ladakh border dispute, which started in May 2020, severely strained relations between India and China. The Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in an over three-year-long conflict in certain friction in eastern Ladakh even though the two sides completed their disengagement from a number of regions after protracted diplomatic and military talks. Notably, India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC were key for the normalisation of overall ties.
(With inputs from agencies)