Alleged Chinese intrusion
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Alleged Chinese intrusion in Arunachal poses threat to territorial integrity: BJP MP
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Alleged Chinese intrusion in Arunachal poses threat to territorial integrity: BJP MP

Sino-Indian boundary dispute talks maybe making progress after nine rounds of interaction between the Special Representatives of the two countries, but there is still one issue both have refrained from raising, and that is, Beijings alleged intrusion into Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh.

By Sanjay Kumar

New Delhi, May 7 : Sino-Indian boundary dispute talks maybe making progress after nine rounds of interaction between the Special Representatives of the two countries, but there is still one issue both have refrained from raising, and that is, Beijing's alleged intrusion into Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh.

According to reports, China has moved into the Tawang area of Arunachal Pradesh and has set up a helipad. The Arunachal Pradesh border has always been a potential flashpoint between the two countries. There are several areas along it that both China and India claim. And the Chinese are extremely suspicious of permanent structures being built anywhere near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In the mid-eighties, India had decided to set up a permanent post in Wangdung in the Tawang sector. The Chinese reacted fast and set up their own post in the region, prompting India to send the 5th Mountain Division to Tawang. That incident almost sparked off a war.

"It's a question of territorial integrity. Merely stating in Parliament that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India is not enough.The question is, is every inch of Arunachal Pradesh territory safe, that is question?" asked Karen Rijiju, the BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh.

Rijiju has claimed that since 1962, there has been continuous incursion by China, and this has created a sense of insecurity among people in Arunachal Pradesh.

"What I am asking is that the Indian Government should inform the people of Arunachal Pradesh about what is going on. When there is a discussion between India and China, the people of Arunachal should be taken into confidence," Rijiju told ANI.

Last November, the MP said he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh drawing his attention to the kidnapping of one Chaba Chader, a resident of Taksin, the occupation of the Samdrong Chu Valley, the existence of a helipad in Twang district and the occupation of areas like Asapila and Lungar by thehinese Army.

He appealed to the Prime Minister that the " historic negligence and mistake committed by the Union Government with regard to the development of Arunachal Pradesh must be corrected and the patriotism of the people must be acknowledged in the interest of the nation."

Rijiju also complained about the Chinese attitude towards the people of Arunachal Pradesh. The residents, including ministers and bureaucrats, were not recognised as citizens of India or Arunachal Pradesh by the Embassy of China.

The MP warned that if New Delhi wants to save its territorial integrity, it will have to shed its obsession with Kashmir.

"Arunachal Pradesh is power house of energy, and if it is properly harnessed and exploited, it can solve India's energy crisis."

Rijiju said that he intends to raise the matter in Parliament and mobilize party leaders on this sensitive national issue.

The two countries have different perceptions about the border. Experts, however, say that the differences are purely of a technical nature. The contours used by both countries for the demarcation of the LAC do not have the same "intervals". This leads to the absence of sharp demarcation in some places. That is why in the late 1980s the Chinese moved the border a few kilometres in Tawang.

Despite 22 years of continuous border negotiations the longest between any two states in modern history, India is the only country with which China has not settled its land frontiers or even fully defined a line of control. China occupies 38,000 square kilometers of Indian territory in Aksai Chin, 5,180 square kilometers in the Shaksam valley in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), and claims 90,000 square kilometers in Arunachal.

China is not known to withdraw its claims or to compromise on them, and detests appeasement which is seen as a sign of weakness.

The renaming of the 4,056-km-long border as the Line of Actual Control (LAC) under the 1993 Border Peace and Tranquillity Agreement between India and China has made India vulnerable to Chinese aggression on its territory.

According to the Ministry of Defence annual report, 2001-2002, "From time to time, on account of differences of perceptions of the LAC, situations have arisen on the ground that could have been avoided had the LAC clarification been completed."

The Indian Army reported about 120 incidents of China's People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) territorial violation in 1999, 96 in 2000, 98 in 2001, and 90 in 2002.

The last acknowledged report of conflict of interest between New Delhi and Beijing took place on June 26, 2003. A 10-man Indian team comprising four intelligence Bureau (IB) and six Special Service Bureau (SSB) personnel were on a routine mission 14 kilometres inside the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh's Subansari district when a 21-strong Chinese Army patrol stopped them.

The Chinese officer told the team that this is Chinese territory and they should never come here. The members of the Indian team were detained, disarmed and interrogated before they were finally released near the Yume bridge across the Yume Chu river, three kilometres inside the LAC.


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