China constructing model villages opposite the LAC

Source: The post is based on the article “‘China constructing model villages opposite the LAC’” published in The Hindu on 26th May 2023

What is the News?

According to official sources, China is continuing to expand the network of model villages, or Xiaokang (moderately prosperous) villages, opposite the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Middle and Eastern sectors.

Note: The 3,488 km long LAC is divided into the Western (Ladakh), Middle (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) and Eastern (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh) sectors.

About the model villages opposite to LAC

Since the beginning of the stand­off with China in eastern Ladakh in 2020, there has been a build-up of forces by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and transgressions in other areas along the LAC.

As reported earlier, numerous Xiaokang villages are under construction all along the LAC, including at the Chumbi Valley facing the strategically crucial Siliguri corridor.

New posts are coming up six or seven km from the LAC in the Middle Sector, and, in some areas, the frequency of patrolling has gone up significantly. For example, the PLA Army patrols have been observed every 15 days or so as against once in a season earlier.

In some areas, the Chinese are building villages at a rapid pace, sometimes 300 to 400 houses within 90 to 100 days. A military complex is under construction in a place.

In Arunachal Pradesh, opposite the Kameng area, two villages have come up in Cuna country consisting of 41 dwelling units and there are about 200 inhabitants from the Menba ethnic community.

China’s application of UAVs: PLA has deployed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or helicopter drone in the Middle sector. In 2020, China’s first UAV meant for high-­altitude areas made its maiden flight and might be deployed along the country’s borders with India.

China also has AR­500C unmanned plateau helicopter. It is meant for surveillance and can take off at an altitude of 5,000 metres, and has a ceiling of 6,700 metres. It has an endurance of five hours and a maximum take­off weight of 500 kg.

About India’s approach to LAC

India has almost reached parity in terms of roads and other infrastructure in the Middle Sector. There has also been major induction of new technology by the Indian Army along the LAC to augment surveillance and capacity.

The Indian Army has signed a series of agreements for high-technology equipment, which is currently in the process of being inducted in the forward areas.

New autonomous vehicles will soon replace animal transport for transporting rations and utilities to soldiers in forward locations and snow scooters, laser dazzlers and new-generation sniper rifles have also been inducted.

Read more: Vibrant Village Programme: A step towards securing Himalayan borders
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