In a step towards restating territorial claims, China has constructed at least three villages close to the tri-junction between India, China, and Bhutan, nearly 5kms from Bum La pass in Arunachal Pradesh.
This is a disputed boundary along the border with Arunachal Pradesh. “China has been using a strategy of settling Han Chinese and Tibetan members of the Communist Party along the India border to strengthen its territorial claims and escalate border intrusions. Like it used fishermen in the South China Sea, China uses civilian resources – herders and grazers – as the tip of the spear to intrude into Indian-patrolled Himalayan areas,” Dr. Brahma Chellaney, a geo-strategist and author told NDTV.
Reportedly, the villages are situated within Chinese territory and are reportedly being constructed. The development comes while the soldiers from both countries are facing off in eastern Ladakh for nearly eight months now. Both sides have prepared for a long deployment through the harsh winter conditions, while the military talks have so far failed to bring about a breakthrough.
The new satellite imagery showing these three new Chinese villages near the Arunachal Pradesh border comes just a week after high-resolution satellite images appeared of a Chinese village construction reportedly inside Bhutanese territory. In that case, the village was just nine kilometres from Doklam site where Indian and Chinese forces had a standoff in 2017.
Experts have been warning of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) attempt to take Indian territory in a gradual manner. An NDTV report cited an August report by Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times, suggests that authorities are planning to “relocate 3,222 people of 960 families to the weakly controlled areas on the borders on a voluntary basis” in Cona – a crucial border county in Shannan Prefecture.