The Express View: Keeping an eye on China

Source: The post is based on the article “The Express View: Keeping an eye on China” published in the Indian Express on 17th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – India and Neighbourhood relations.

Relevance: About Chinese threat along LAC.

News: The cabinet has approved the Centrally Sponsored Scheme – Vibrant Villages Programme(VVP). The programme aims to improve infrastructure and provide livelihood opportunities along the Line of Actual Control.

The plan is to upgrade 633 villages in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Ladakh.

About Vibrant Villages Programme(VVP)

Read here: Cabinet approves Centrally Sponsored Scheme- “Vibrant Villages Programme” for the Financial Years 2022-23 to 2025-26

What is the present state of border areas along LAC?

Indian territory along the LAC had no established or limited human settlements. For instance, residents of Ladakh’s border villages have long demanded better facilities such as 4G telecommunication towers, better roads, schools with adequate facilities, and 24×7 electricity.

The government also neglected people’s complaints to surrender acres of traditional grazing land to China’s salami-slicing tactics. The attempted Chinese incursion in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh last year has underlined Chinese threats along the LAC.

What are the new developments planned and developed along LAC?

Infrastructure development:

-A new 4.1 km all-weather tunnel will connect Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh making troops movement easier.

-Tourism and sporting activities are being planned in these areas to provide livelihood opportunities for local people.

Increase in personnel: The government will spend Rs 1,800 crore to raise seven new battalions (9,000 personnel) of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) chiefly deployed along India’s borders with China alongside the Army.

Read more: Build, But Smartly – Infra along LAC is strategically vital. But Joshimath shows why projects must respect mountain ecology

What is the present state of the Chinese threat along LAC?

China is effectively practising salami-slicing tactics on the border. For instance, the villages on the Chinese side are hybrid in nature with a mixture of civilian and military settlements. According to security analysts, they can be used as staging posts for incursions into India.

What India should do to address the Chinese threat along LAC?

At present, both sides are working on an idea to build permanent population settlements along the border to strengthen each side’s claim to the region under their control along the disputed sections of the LAC.

However, India does not have enough time to catch up with China. Hence, building “vibrant” villages and developing infrastructure on the border are important and convey China a message.

India should develop an integrated approach by making the Vibrant Villages Programme a part of a broader defence strategy with an all-of-government approach.

Print Friendly and PDF