India on Thursday strongly rejected China renaming some places in Arunachal Pradesh and asserted that the state has "always been" and will "always be" an integral part of India and that assigning "invented" names does not alter this fact.
India's reaction came in response to Beijing announcing Chinese names for 15 more places in Arunachal Pradesh which the neighbouring country claims as South Tibet.
"We have seen such. This is not the first time China has attempted such a renaming of places in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. China had also sought to assign such names in April 2017," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
"Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India. Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact," he said.
Mr Bagchi was responding to a media query on reports that China has renamed some places in Arunachal Pradesh in its own language.
China's Ministry of Civil Affairs announced on Wednesday that it had standardised in Chinese characters, Tibetan and Roman alphabet the names of 15 places in Zangnan, the Chinese name for Arunachal Pradesh, according to state-run Global Times.
This is in accordance with regulations on geographical names issued by the State Council, China's cabinet, it said in a report.
Among the official names of the 15 places, which were given exact longitude and latitude, eight are residential places, four are mountains, two are rivers and one is a mountain pass, the report said.
This is the second batch of standardised names of places in Arunachal Pradesh given by China.
The first batch of the standardised names of six places was released in 2017.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet.
The eight residential places in the second batch are Sengkezong and Daglungzong in Cona County of Shannan Prefecture, Mani'gang, Duding and Migpain in Medog County of Nyingchi, Goling, Damba in Zayu County of Nyingchi, and Mejag in Lhunze County of Shannan Prefecture, the Global Times report said.
The four mountains are Wamo Ri, Dêu Ri, Lhünzhub Ri and Kunmingxingzê Feng, it said.
The two rivers are Xenyogmo He and Dulain He, and the mountain pass is named Se La, in Cona County.
The report quoted Lian Xiangmin, stated to be an expert with the China Tibetology Research Centre in Beijing, claiming that the announcement is part of the national survey on place names that have existed for hundreds of years.
China's renaming of the places in Arunachal Pradesh came in the midst of the lingering eastern Ladakh border standoff that began in May last year.
Following the standoff, India bolstered its overall military preparedness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Arunachal Pradesh sector as well.
Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Manoj Pande said in October that China has increased the intensity of its military exercises and deployment of troops in its depth areas opposite the LAC in the Arunachal Pradesh sector.
He said that India has correspondingly readied contingency plans to deal with any eventualities.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)