Taking necessary measures to safeguard sovereignty: Govt on reports of Chinese village in Arunachal

MEA says India has stepped up construction of border infrastructure

Taking necessary measures to safeguard sovereignty: Govt on reports of Chinese village in Arunachal

A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, Arunachal Pradesh. Reuters file

New Delhi, January 18

In a cautious reaction to a report that China has built a village in Arunachal Pradesh, India on Monday said it keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on the country’s security, and takes necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Ministry of External Affairs said India has stepped up the construction of border infrastructure, including roads and bridges for the improvement of livelihood of its citizens.

The response from the ministry came when asked about a report by NDTV channel, saying China has constructed a new village in the disputed region of Arunachal Pradesh and it consisted of about 101 homes. The news channel said the report is based on satellite images accessed exclusively by it.

“We have seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along the border areas with India. China has undertaken such infrastructure construction activity in the past several years,” the MEA said.

“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 ministry also asserted that the government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas for the improvement of livelihood of its citizens, including in Arunachal Pradesh.

“Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes all the necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said.

In its report, NDTV showed two images of the area where it said the village has been set up. According to the channel, the first image dated August 26, 2019 did not show any human habitation but the second one of November 2020 shows a row of structures.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, while India contests it.

India and China are locked in a bitter border row in eastern Ladakh for over eight months.

The army as well as the Indian Air Force have been maintaining a high state of operational readiness along the entire stretch of the LAC with China, including in the Arunachal sector in view of the eastern Ladakh standoff.

India and China have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks in order to resolve the eastern Ladakh row, but no significant headway has been made for its resolution.

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. PTI

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