China has constructed a new village in Arunachal Pradesh, consisting of about 101 homes, show satellite images accessed exclusively by NDTV. The same images, dated November 1, 2020, have been analysed by several experts approached by NDTV, who confirmed that the construction, approximately 4.5 kms within Indian territory of the de facto border, will be of huge concern to India. Though this area is Indian territory, according to official government maps, it has been in effective Chinese control since 1959. However, earlier only a Chinese military post existed, but this time a full-fledged village that can house thousands has been built.
The village, located on the banks of the River Tsari Chu, lies in the Upper Subansiri district, an area which has been long disputed by India and China and has been marked by armed conflict.
In response to NDTV’s detailed questions, the Foreign Ministry, which was also sent the satellite images, did not challenge what the pictures show. “We have seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along the border areas with India. China has undertaken such infrastructure construction activity in the past several years.”
The government says it remains committed to improving border infrastructure. ”Our Government too has stepped up border infrastructure including the construction of roads, bridges etc, which has provided much needed connectivity to the local population along the border.”
In November 2020, when this satellite image was taken, the BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh, Tapir Gao, had warned the Lok Sabha of the Chinese invasion in his state, referring specifically to the Upper Subansiri district. He told NDTV that this includes the construction of a new double-lane road. ”Construction is still going on. China has entered more than 60-70 km inside the upper Subansiri district if you follow the path along the river. They are constructing a road along the river known locally as the Lensi as it flows in the direction of the Subansiri river.”
The Foreign Ministry did not respond directly to a question on whether the village construction has been diplomatically raised with Beijing. It said to NDTV, ”The government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes all the necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”