(TibetanReview.net, Nov08’21) – China has been undertaking “incremental and tactical actions to press its claims” along the frontier with India and had built a “large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory between the Tibet Autonomous Region and Arunachal Pradesh” last year, says the US Defence Department in its latest Annual Report to Congress Nov 3 on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China”.
The report says the village in question was on the banks of Tsari Chu (River) on a “disputed territory” under Beijing’s control for over 60 years.
The report says China had constructed several such villages along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control. These are “dual-use” villages which can act like “extended cantonments” for military use, and have been “a source of consternation in the Indian government and media”.
India has indicated that it had taken note of this development, with its Eastern Army Command chief Lt-General Manoj Pande being quoted as saying recently that China’s “construction of such dual-use villages has been factored into our operational plans”.
Taking note of China’s quest for technologically advanced C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) systems, the report says the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) installed “a fibre-optic network in remote areas of the western Himalayas to provide faster communications and increased protection from foreign interception” at the height of the stand-off with India last year.
The Pentagon report says China and India “continue to maintain large-scale deployments along the LAC and make preparations to sustain these forces while disengagement negotiations have made limited progress”.
Blaming China for the current flare up in the border situation, the report says, “Beginning in May 2020, the PLA launched incursions into customarily Indian-controlled territory across the border and has concentrated troops at several standoff locations along the LAC.
“In addition, a substantial reserve force from the Tibet and Xinjiang Military Districts were deployed to the interior of Western China to provide a rapid response.”
The report also sees China as being interested in preventing the stand-off from worsening into a wider military conflict as it “seeks to prevent border tensions from causing India to partner more closely with the US. Chinese officials have warned US officials to not interfere with China’s relationship with India.”