New Delhi: The annual United States Department of Defence report refers to the creation of a 100-home Chinese village in Arunachal Pradesh and alleges that the stand-off between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since May 2020 gave the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “valuable real-world operational and tactical experience”. The report has been submitted to the US Congress.
The report titled ‘Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China – 2021’ further says that China is taking “incremental and tactical actions to press its claims at the Line of Actual Control (LAC)” and mentions 100-home civilian village built by Beijing between the Tibet Autonomous Region and India’s Arunachal Pradesh state in the eastern sector sometime in 2020.
Details of the presence of this new Chinese village which lies squarely within Indian territory, south of the McMahon line, was first released by a US-based imaging company Planet Labs in January 2021 when it posted a series of photographs claiming that around 100 houses have been built along the river Tsari Chu in the upper Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh.
It also shared satellite images from 2019 which showed that there was no construction in the area at that time.
Issuing a statement over this revelation, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said that the government had seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along with the border areas and is keeping a strict vigil on all the developments which threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It further said that 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,” it added.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry defended the construction terming it as normal as the village was within its own territory and said that the development was beyond “reproach”.
China refers to Arunachal Pradesh as ‘South Tibet’ and this reference is attributed to Mao Zedong, founding father of the People’s Republic of China who came up with the “Five Fingers Policy of China”.
Mao’s foreign policy was expansionist in nature and he believed that Tibet was the right hand of China with Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Ladakh its ‘five fingers’.
He was of opinion that it was China’s duty to “liberate” these areas.
After tensions between India and China escalated post-Galwan Valley crisis, Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibet Administration, said that Beijing’s actions on the LAC prove that it is following the strategy laid down by Mao.
Warning the Indian government, he further said that New Delhi must learn from what happened to Tibet.