Beijing Acting On Definite Military Plan: Report
Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), Sept 20: A day after India downplayed reports of Chinese incursion although it said that the situation was not alarming, it moved hundreds of troops to its border with China in Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday.
Even though the army termed the movement of convoys as routine, a news agency quoting eyewitnesses said that they had not witnessed such a build up in decades.
“The movement of troops has surely increased,” the news agency quoted a Buddhist monk as saying.
The border deployment comes amid persistent reports of Chinese incursions and Beijing’s opposition to the visit of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to Tawang. It is through here that the Dalai Lama entered India.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu, said, “We firmly oppose the Dalai (Lama) visiting the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’.” China disputes the ownership of Arunachal Pradesh. India has said that the Dalai Lama was free to travel to any part of the country.
According to army commanders, the troop movement was part of ‘Operation Alert’, a winter exercise that sees soldiers move into inhospitable border areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast ahead of the bitter weather conditions that make the roads impassable due to heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile, in a news report, CNN-IBN said it had access to a confidential intelligence note that suggested that Beijing was acting on a definite military plan on the border.
The note suggests the Chinese are working on an India centric plan.
“In Arunachal Pradesh, the behaviour of Chinese troops has become more aggressive. Border pillars in some areas have been deliberately broken and bunkers have been built on the Indian side of the McMahon Line,” the note reads, adding “Opposite Sikkim’s eastern border, a new highway and permanent army structures have come up. Chinese forces are now positioned to cut the strategic Siliguri corridor in India in the event of hostilities.”
“A joint command of the Lanzhou Military Region opposite Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and the Chengdu Military Region opposite India’s North-east have come up,” it said, adding “From Tibet, China can airlift 20,000 troops to anywhere along the frontiers with India in two hours. By comparison the infrastructure in India’s north-east remains poor.”
Further, the note says, “A key highway in Arunachal Pradesh has only now received environment clearance. In Ladakh, the pace of road construction linking key points along the Line of Actual Control is laggard and Chushul remains without an all-weather road link.
“The only silver lining here is that hostilities of any kind could rebound on China. It would confirm suspicions about Beijing’s intentions and reinforce moves in South-East and North-East Asia to form powerful new coalitions against the expansion of Chinese power.”
According to the central government, no defined border exists and the armies of both countries follow a vague and illogical line where hostilities ceased in 1962.
“There is no mutually agreed or delineated line of actual control between the two countries,” foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, said underscoring why intrusions took place.
The India-China border along Arunachal Pradesh is separated by the McMahon Line, an imaginary border now known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India and China fought a border war in 1962, with Chinese troops advancing deep into Arunachal Pradesh and inflicting heavy casualties on poorly armed Indian troops.
The border dispute with China was inherited by India from British rulers, who hosted a 1914 conference with the Tibetan and Chinese governments that set the border in what is now Arunachal Pradesh.
China has never recognised the 1914 McMahon Line and claims 90,000 sq km, including nearly all of Arunachal Pradesh. India accuses China of occupying 8,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir.
After 1962, tensions flared again in 1986 with Indian and Chinese forces clashing in Sumdorong Chu valley of Arunachal Pradesh. Chinese troops reportedly built a helipad in the valley leading to the fresh skirmishes.