Update, 21 January: The area discussed below has been illegal under the control of China since 1959, the constructions, however, are new.
In another instance of foul play and territorial aggression, an NDTV report has revealed that China has now built a village 4.5 km inside the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
China’s new illegal construction has over 101 homes and is about 4.5 km “within Indian territory of the de facto border”, NDTV reported citing satellite imagery from Planet Labs.
NDTV went on to compare the visuals of the same location from August 26, 2019, which showed no such construction. This clearly shows that the village has mushroomed recently in line with China’s aggressive policy along the border that the communist country shares with India.
As the report of the illegal construction in the Tsari Chu river in the upper Subansiri district went viral, the Ministry of External Affairs came forward to comment on the issue.
The external affairs ministry did not directly comment on the issue of the particular village referred but said: “Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes all the necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
MEA added that in response to China’s aggression, the government has pushed up the “construction work along the border areas”.
“China has undertaken such infrastructure construction activity in the past several years. In response, our government too has stepped up border infrastructure including the construction of roads, bridges etc, which has provided much needed connectivity to the local population along the border,” MEA added.
China, for the unaware, claims authority over the whole of Arunachal Pradesh and quotes it as ‘South Tibet’. “The Chinese side doesn’t respect the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh and constructs structures in areas claimed by it,” Hindustan Times quoted one person familiar with the issue as saying.
Notably, China since 2000 has actively made its presence felt in Arunachal Pradesh says a Belgium-based security analyst Sim Tack. He adds that “So, the Chinese presence is not necessarily new, but what is new is the building of a village to settle people in the area,” he said.
“China has been preparing infrastructure on its own side for a long time but now the infrastructure is being created in disputed regions in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan. It would appear China is applying such infrastructure to strengthen its territorial claims,” Tack said.
As the report went viral, opposition came together to accuse the BJP administration of its unableness to deal with China’s growing aggression along the borders of India. Congress, the party that lost India’s territory to China in 1962, 1963, twice in 2008, 2009 and 2013, asked, “Would the Modi govt care to corroborate this news & tell us how they plan to respond?”