NEW DELHI: Having successfully distracted India with its game of brinkmanship in eastern Ladakh, China has raised a village in Arunachal Pradesh, consisting of about 101 makeshift shelters.
The tell-tale evidence of the construction activity is in the form of satellite images in the possession of NDTV. These images, dated November 1, 2020, were shown to several experts approached by NDTV, who have confirmed the construction, approximately 4.5 km within the de facto border.
Though this area falls in Indian territory, according to official government maps, it has been in effective Chinese control since 1959. However, earlier only a Chinese military post existed, but this time a full-fledged village that can house thousands has been built.
The village, located on the banks of the river Tsari Chu, lies in the Upper Subansiri district, an area which has been long disputed by India and China and has been marked by armed conflict, adds the NDTV report.
What has given the visuals credence is the cautious reaction from the Ministry of External Affairs, which said it keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on the country's security. "In response, our government too has stepped up border infrastructure, including the construction of roads and bridges, which has provided much needed connectivity to the local population along the border," the MEA said. It acknowledged that China has been undertaking such infrastructure construction for the past several years.
The ministry, however, asserted that the government remains committed to taking all the necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In its report, NDTV exhibited two images of the area where it said the village has been raised. According to the channel, the first image dated August 26, 2019, did not show any human habitation but the second one dated November 2020 shows a row of structures. Earlier this month, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat visited various forward posts near the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh and reviewed India's operational preparedness.
He also visited several key installations, including "forward most air maintained" posts in Dibang Valley, Lohit sector and Subansiri valley, according to the Army.