New Delhi: China has been pressing its claims in Arunachal Pradesh by building up defence infrastructure, and this has led to India strengthening its border infrastructure, but since the aggression is on territory that was captured by China in 1959, and not on the Indian side of the LAC, the situation is calm. “There is nothing to be alarmed of; there are no scuffles or physical violation of the border areas. The Indian Army, too, has built up a line of defence at the borders and that cannot be overridden just like that,” an official source said. Reports suggest that China is permanently accessing the disputed regions and establishing infrastructure at the same time, enhancing their key military strategic points.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a statement said, “We have taken note of the US Department of Defence’ report to US Congress which inter-alia also makes a reference to construction activities by the Chinese side along the India-China border areas, particularly in the Eastern sector. China has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along the border areas, including in the areas that it has illegally occupied over decades. India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims. The government has always conveyed its strong protest to such activities through diplomatic means and will continue to do so in the future.”
A retired Lt. General told The Sunday Guardian: “The matter is hung for now on the borders; there will be no nudging in winters between the two nations and more importantly, India is not doing much to stave off the Chinese on the disputed territory, which the latter consider their eastern Tibet, the problem is the build up on the disputed territory.”
There was much furore in the media after the United States Department of Defence released a report referring to the creation of a 100-home Chinese village in Arunachal Pradesh, but that area has been under effective Chinese control since 1959, and before the construction of the 100-home village, there was a Chinese military outpost existent for more than a decade. The US report had led to speculation that the Indian border was being transgressed.
Retd. Lt. Colonel Anil Duhoon told The Sunday Guardian: “There is no transgression and the status quo at the Arunachal Pradesh borders is being maintained. If in case there is any overstepping, the army will be redeployed and things will be taken care of. For now, there is no battle like scenario at the borders.” As the makeup of battles and war weaponry have changed, Duhoon added: “Future wars will not be fought traditionally—should there be anything intense, there may not be any confrontation—due to the reasons causing economic breakdown within the fighting nations as there will be a lot of destruction.”
India and China have been into the de-escalation process since the stand-off and have been successfully able to cease their forward deployments at the friction points where troops of both nations were engaged in a standoff. Duhoon added:”The government said that we have reached agreement and they are de-escalating, but the de-escalation did not happen. De-escalation would mean when we are able to reach back deployments to our defence posts as of April 2020. It is just the realignment of LAC forces. Disengagement hasn’t happened.”
There is no official record of how many check posts on border areas have been vacated or repositioned. An official source said, “We cannot patrol some areas we used to before, it is all about leverage at the borders and how better you are positioned, the worst was that we vacated Kailash heights for that may not be occupied again. It was a strategic point for the Indian army.”
Nitin Gokhale, a national security analyst, had written in his tweet that the Pentagon report on Chinese village in “Indian territory” in Arunachal Pradesh conveniently omits the fact that the area has been under effective Chinese control since 1959. It is like saying China building military infrastructure in Aksai Chin (which is actually Indian territory). “Aksai China, like this area in Arunachal, was lost before 1962.
Earlier Indian reports themselves mentioned this fact about Arunachal, but the Pentagon keeps it vague and allows people to start outraging without knowing full facts.”