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China vows to counter India’s tunnel plan in Arunachal

The government of India plans to build a tunnel at an elevation of 13,700 feet to construct a tunnel in the Arunachal Pradesh. (Photo courtesy: Indian Defence Update)
The government of India plans to build a tunnel at an elevation of 13,700 feet to construct a tunnel in the Arunachal Pradesh. (Photo courtesy: Indian Defence Update)

(TibetanReview.net, Feb07, 2018) – China has vowed to take economic measures to counter India’s announcement of a plan to build a tunnel in the border state of Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims is south Tibet and therefore part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China.

China will take “relevant countermeasures” if India seeks to “break the status quo” by constructing a tunnel in “disputed” Arunachal Pradesh, said a commentary posted on the website of the government mouthpiece Global Times Feb 5. “The South Tibet region is located along China’s southwestern border and India’s northeastern border where Sino-Indian border disputes are centered,” the commentary maintained.

The commentary has referred to a report which had cited Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat as saying recently that the army was focusing on improving border infrastructure to ensure speedy movement of ammunition and troops. And in his national budget for 2018, India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a plan to construct a tunnel in the Arunachal Pradesh.

Referring to it, the commentary said that if India sought to break the status quo in the disputed region, relevant countermeasures by China should be in place.

“Sino-Indian relations are at a sensitive stage. The construction of the tunnel will complicate the border issue and may have serious consequences,” the commentary, written by Global Times reporter Hu Weijia, said.

At the same time, however, the commentary expressed scorn for India’s effort, questioning its ability to match China on development of infrastructure and to take on the country militarily, adding Beijing will respond nevertheless.

It said: “India has sped up development of infrastructure along the border with China but its efforts are largely in thrall to its financial constraints and backward technology. The development of infrastructure can only play a limited role in improving the military’s combat capability, but it is more of a gesture by the Indian government to strengthen control in the region. If it is a unilateral action by India to break the status quo in the disputed region, China has reason to respond to this.”

Citing an arsenal of “political, military and economic means” to counter India, the commentary said, “From an economic perspective, more efforts to shore up the development of southwestern Tibet will help increase the bargaining chips on the Chinese side if people in ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ see better economic development in southwestern Tibet. What’s more, China can try to step up investment in South Tibet to increase its presence.”

The commentary also said China could strengthen economic cooperation with Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh to put pressure on India regarding issues related to the disputed region.

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