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India wary as China invests big on Tibet border-area consolidation

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(TibetanReview.net, May17’22) – China is constantly augmenting infrastructure along the notional Line of Actual Control (LAC) between occupied Tibet and the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, including with the setting up of a 5G telecom unit, reported the timesofindia.com May 17, citing GoC-in-C Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita of the Army’s Eastern Command.

The general’s remarks came as China’s official chindaily.com.cn reported May 16 that the Tibet autonomous region was going to make heavy investment on projects for ensuring stability, development, ecology and border-area consolidation.

The local government will implement 98 key projects this year, including 180 sub-projects, with investment of more than 88.8 billion yuan ($13.4 billion), the report said.

On the border infrastructure development, Lt Gen Kalita has said, “Basically, all activities the Chinese PLA is undertaking to develop infrastructure is to ensure they are in a better position to respond to any emerging situation and mobilize forces in a short time.”

The GoC-in-C has said the Chinese were building railway lines linking the border to Tibet’s capital Lhasa and the Chinese heartland. “State highways, provincial roads and roads that lead to the passes in the forward areas are being built. They are also continuously constructing new airports with dual runaways and adding more areas to ensure stationing of a greater number of aircraft and helicopters.”

He has said India’s primary concern was border villages coming up close to the LAC, potentially providing sanctuary for civilians as well as troops as and when there is mobilization of forces in the forward areas.

“They have also set up logistic nodes to support their troops for longer periods when they operate in forward areas. Mobile communication with the availability of 5G facility are there. All of these are meant to mobilize their troops from camps to forward areas in a short span of time,” Lt Gen Kalita has said.

He has said India was taking measures to counter these developments. “Our operational capabilities are being enhanced in all spheres”, with the focus on introduction of new weapons, equipment and technology. “We need to evolve the methodology and our own responses to various challenges.”

He has said the geography was more favourable to the Chinese on the occupied Tibetan side. “When one compares the terrain on both sides of the LAC, the northern side on Tibet is a huge rolling plateau and, on our side, we have difficult mountains of unstable Himalaya and thick jungles. We also have mutually exclusive valleys and because of these, connectivity is a big problem,” he has said.


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