Pentagon counts ‘Chinese village’ in Arunachal Pradesh

Image credit: Planet Labs Inc

The Pentagon annual report to US Congress titled ‘Military and Security developments involving the People’s Republic of China, 2021’ furnishes details of a 100-home civilian village built by China in the disputed parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Under the chapter “ PRC-India Border Standoff”, the defence report mentions the insufficient headway in India-China border talks and takes a stand against the PLA, holding it responsible for rolling-out assaults “into customarily Indian-controlled territory across the border” resulting in the Galwan Valley scrimmage in June 2020, killing 20 Indian soldiers. 

In response to the report, Congress sought an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to “withdraw” his “clean chit” to China that no one has entered into Indian territory, PTI reported. Many critics of Modi joined congress in attacking Modi against his cold response to China, after the Pentagon report.

Since the beginning of the standoff in May 2020 till April 2021, there have been 11 rounds of Corps level deliberations between PLA and Indian Army representatives which have yielded “limited disengagement at specified areas along the LAC.”

The report further details that China has been mounting tensions along the Line of Actual Control despite continued dialogue at the diplomatic and military levels.

“Despite the ongoing diplomatic and military dialogues to reduce border tensions, the PRC has continued taking incremental and tactical actions to press its claims at the LAC.” said the Pentagon report.

Satellite images put out by NDTV show that the village China has built is along the Tsari River which has been a disputed region even before the 1962 war. 

“Sometime in 2020, the PRC built a large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory between the PRC’s Tibet Autonomous Region and India’s Arunachal Pradesh state in the eastern sector of the LAC” as per the Report.

Economic Times reported that the intensity of Chinese presence in Arunachal Pradesh reached new heights in 2020 with the construction of a village and the establishment of road connectivity. 

“Asserting that its deployments to the LAC were in response to Indian provocation, Beijing has refused to withdraw any forces until India’s forces have withdrawn behind the PRC’s version of the LAC and ceased infrastructure improvements in the area,” the report says.

As per The Pentagon, China wants to avoid a heightened military faceoff and renew economic and diplomatic cooperation with New Delhi. The report concludes that Beijing doesn’t intend to “give any territorial concession demanded by India” and claims that India has been an “instrument of US policy in the region”.

Talking about the build-up of nuclear force, the report says that China is doing that much faster than US officials predicted, enable Beijing to match or surpass US global power by mid-century.