NEW DELHI—China is defending the construction of a village on land in India’s state of Arunachal Pradesh, saying that the Beijing regime has “never recognized” the border area as a part of India.
The Chinese village of 101 houses sits along the Tsari Chu river in the border state, according to the U.S.-based imaging company Planet Labs. Construction was completed 2.5 miles into Indian territory last year, as India and China engaged in a tense military standoff in the far north, Himalayan region of Ladakh.
“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,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The ministry said it’s taking all necessary measures to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India and is stepping up infrastructure development on the Indian side.
Meanwhile, the Chinese External Affairs ministry noted the construction in a statement on Jan. 21 but said it doesn’t recognize Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India.
While there’s a history of clashes between the Indian army and China’s People’s Liberation Army in the Tsari Chu river valley has since 1959, there are areas that are a part of the official map of India, yet are under Chinese control.
Indian retired Maj. Gen. G.G. Diwedi, who has served in the region, told The Epoch Times over the phone that because control of the area is in dispute, international norms prohibit construction there. He said India and China have various agreements to regulate conduct with respect to the disputed border.
“The basic issue is that in the disputed territory, we don’t make any permanent construction. While we may patrol because our perception [of the border] is different, we don’t do any construction work,” he said.
Another Indian military veteran, retired Lt. Gen. Kamal Davar, who has also served in the region during his career and who founded India’s Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Epoch Times that the Chinese don’t do anything randomly and everything for them is a long, drawn-out strategy.
“As late as 2005, the Chinese ambassador said the whole of Arunachal belongs to China. How do you say that? Are you ruling the world? Or are you still suffering from that irrational, Middle Kingdom syndrome? Chinese have the thing that they own the world,” Davar said.
China’s statements reflect their “deceit and disregard” for humanitarian and international norms, he says.
”Like it used fishermen in the South China Sea, China uses civilian resources—herders and grazers—as the tip of the spear to intrude into Indian-patrolled Himalayan areas,” Dr. Brahma Chellaney, a geopolitical analyst and a noted syndicated writer, told NDTV.
Davar said: “The Chinese constantly come out with innovative methods in the pursuit of their strategic missions by means fair and foul.
Historically Complex BorderNinong Ering, a former federal minister of the Indian government and a current lawmaker in the legislative assembly of Arunachal Pradesh, told The Epoch Times by telephone that his state has always been a target of the Chinese because they consider it a part of south Tibet.
“The Chinese are really [expletive] off, they are really angry with us because we gave a kind of solace to his holiness the Dalai Lama when he had come to Tawang. And that’s the reason why they are always against us,” said Ering, who was also a member of the lower house of the Indian parliament for 10 years.
“There has to be a check. Now, there’s no check. They are still engrossed in incursions and they always do this because we don’t have any border on the border. It’s completely jungle in Arunachal Pradesh and there are no roads,” he said.
The Chinese have already built a network of roads on the other side of the border, Ering said.
He gave the example of Arunachal Pradesh’s remotest town, Anini, which is 20 miles away from the nearest Indian military post and another 62 miles (100 kilometers) to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), is which is unmanned.
“Now, when there is a gap of 100 kilometers, the Chinese have already constructed roads, because you can see through the Google [maps] they went right into Dibang valley. That is going to be a very serious threat for all of us until and unless we build infrastructure, until and unless we build roads,” Ering said.
“So if the Indian government doesn’t build roads, then I think we may lose Arunachal,” said Ering.
He expressed hope that newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden will support India.
“Let us hope that the United States president will also take concern about what China is doing to India,” he said.
Protests Against New VillageAfter reports emerged about the new Chinese village, anti-China protests broke out in the Upper Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh, where the houses were built. People carried placards and banners and shouted pro-India and anti-China slogans, NDTV reported. The banners read “long live India” and “go back China,” according to the images and videos available in the media.
Ering said the people of the state are very patriotic, and the region always has been under the “Indian format.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese state-run Global Times called India’s response “hype by Indian media” and cited a Chinese expert who said the Indian media is seeking to create anti-China sentiment in the country.