Chinese chequers on the China border

Source– The post is based on the article “Chinese chequers on the China border” published in the Business Standard  on 7th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Security Challenges. GS2- International Relations

Relevance– Challenges on China border

News- The article explains the concerns of Local Ladakhi people about China’s territorial claim on Indian territory in Ladakh. It also explains the Chinese strategy for their expansion.

What are the concerns related to the Indo-China border?

The nomadic yak graziers of Ladakh who live along the borders have disclosed the real situation of LAC.

They are saying that Chinese troops and border guards are denying them access to their traditional borderland pastures. The Indian government is not supporting them.

A local elected official from Ladakh has publicly refuted government claims that India and China have negotiated a mutual and equal troop disengagement and have created buffer zones on either side of the LAC.

Territorial claims by both armies are depriving them from their local identities . Traditional name of local Ladakhi places is replaced by military nomenclature. This is diluting their longstanding claim on the territory.

Territorial claims along the LAC rest on village records of grazing grounds. It must be reasserted each year by the physical presence of nomads with their herds.

What is Chinese strategy?

A study by Human Rights Watch (HRW) of the Tibetan areas bordering Arunachal Pradesh, revealed that an initiative has been directed personally by President Xi Jinping since 2017. It  involves setting up villages in disputed border areas. In a major investigative article in May 2021 in Foreign Policy magazine described its working.

Tibetan nomads are being used by the Chinese army. They have assigned duty to be physically present in border areas throughout winters.

They are being trained to assert China’s claim in these areas. Their methods include driving yak herds over land grazed by local herders, demanding tax payments from these herders, planting Chinese flags on peaks and painting the word ‘China’ on rocks throughout the area.

In July 2021, China’s President Xi Jinping visited Tibet for three days. His focus is on the Tibetan town of Nyingtri . This town  is of strategic interest to India as Beijing regards Arunachal Pradesh as a southward extension of Nyingtri Prefecture.

Over the years an estimated 250,000 Tibetans have been resettled thus in vulnerable pockets along the border.

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