NEW DELHI—The Chinese have built a village consisting of 101 houses along the Tsari Chu river in the border Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, according to the US-based imaging company Planet Labs, reported Indian media.
The construction of the village was completed 2.5 miles into the Indian territory by November last year while India and China engaged in a tense military standoff in the far north, Himalayan region of Ladakh and is a matter of grave concern for India, reported the New Delhi Television (NDTV) on Jan. 18.
The area where the construction happened is heavily forested, is an Indian territory according to official maps but has been under effective Chinese occupation since 1959. However, until over a year ago, only a Chinese military picket existed there but now a constructed village with the capacity to house thousands stands there.
Abhishek Ranjan, Founder of New Delhi based international affairs observer group, Red Lantern Analytica told The Epoch Times over the phone that the Arunachal Pradesh border between India and China is very different from the India and China border in Ladakh where the bloody conflict happened in June last year.
“India and China border in Arunachal Pradesh has a dense forest. There is no clear demarcation, it’s very densely forested. There are [also] so many small rivers between the two countries [in the region]. It is very sparsely populated,” said Ranjan who has been working with the Indian Members of the Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh for six years.
Ranjan said it’s not clear from the media reports about how many people are staying in those houses but since infrastructure has been provided it indicates they will stay there. He said the Chinese objective behind setting up a village in such a remote, forested region can be understood from theories of Chinese expansionism.
“So it’s to be clearly understood that China is maybe trying to set up PLA army in this border area. China can actually perhaps make a PLA settlement in the garb of a village,” said Ranjan, adding that despite all the speculation there’s still a lack of clarity on the situation.
“It’s obviously a big threat if some other nation constructs 101 houses inside [other nation’s territory] in a region where people are actually not staying,” said Ranjan.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry said in a media release on Monday that the Indian administration is aware of the Chinese “ramping” up infrastructure development in the border region and is taking necessary measures.
“We have seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along with the border areas with India. China has undertaken such infrastructure construction activity in the past several years,” said the Ministry of External Affairs.
The government said it’s taking all necessary measures to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.
“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.”
The Tsari Chu river valley has a history of clashes between the Indian Army and the PLA since 1959 and Ranjan said the developments are ongoing and the government might come with a more specific response since the issue of Line of Actual Control between India and China is very sensitive.
“Last year maybe in September or October few of the villagers who were porters went missing from Arunachal Pradesh. They were actually taken by the PLA but they were eventually returned after intervention and request by the government of India,” he said adding that these things have happened but the construction of a village inside the Indian territory is a far more serious issue and the government of India’s future statements will suggest what repercussions will it have.