India's Top General Rebuffs Pentagon Report Alleging Chinese Village Was Built on Indian Territory

© REUTERS / Adnan1 AbidiFILE PHOTO: A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009. Picture taken November 11, 2009
FILE PHOTO: A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009. Picture taken November 11, 2009 - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.11.2021
China claims around 38,000 square km of Indian-administered territory in Jammu and Kashmir and 90,000 square km in Arunachal Pradesh. China also administers more than 5,000 square km of disputed territory that was handed over to it by Pakistan in 1963, a pact that New Delhi has refused to recognise.
India's Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat has flatly rejected a claim that China has constructed a village inside Arunachal Pradesh, a state in the eastern sector of the India-China border that New Delhi claims lies within its jurisdiction.
The allegation was made in a US Department of Defence (DOD) report titled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2021".

"Despite the ongoing diplomatic and military dialogues to reduce border tensions, the PRC has continued taking incremental and tactical actions to press its claims at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Sometime in 2020, the PRC built a large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory between the PRC's Tibet Autonomous Region and India's Arunachal Pradesh state in the eastern sector of the LAC", says the Pentagon report.

General Rawat, however, said on Thursday evening that "no such village development has taken place on our side of the LAC".

"The present controversy that has erupted, that the Chinese have come across into our territory and built a new village is not true", the Indian general stated, while speaking at a conclave organised by the Indian broadcaster Times Now.

He added that the Chinese are "building villages possibly for billeting and locating their civilians or for their military in the future".
Rawat additionally pointed out that such villages have been seen across the entire length of the nearly 4,000-kilometre Line of Actual Control (LAC), the undemarcated and disputed border between the two countries.

"They are building this infrastructure… these so-called villages, which are well within their side of the LAC. They have not transgressed anywhere on our perception of the LAC", Rawat said.

The Indian general's assertions not only rejected the official American claims, but even those of India's own Foreign Ministry, which has admitted the presence of "illegal" Chinese construction within Indian territory.

"China has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along the border areas including in the areas that it has illegally occupied over the decades. India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims", Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a weekly briefing on Thursday evening, hours before General Rawat's comments.

The Indian Foreign Ministry official said that New Delhi has conveyed a "strong protest" to China over the new construction.
Bagchi further pointed out that even India had been ramping up its border infrastructure along the China border, including in Arunachal Pradesh.
Indian Army personnel keep vigilance at Bumla pass at the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.11.2021
China Builds Village Inside Indian Territory in Arunachal Pradesh: India's Foreign Ministry
"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", he remarked.
The controversy comes amid an ongoing border standoff between the Indian Army and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in eastern Ladakh, which lies at the western tip of the India-China border.
Troops from both militaries clashed in the Galwan Valley region of Ladakh in June of last year, resulting in the deaths of 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers.
The clashes were the deadliest episode at the India-China border in over four decades, with the Indian foreign minister stating that the event has "profoundly disturbed" New Delhi's trust in Beijing.
While India has accused China of trying to "unilaterally" alter the status quo of the border region, Beijing says that its actions were triggered by New Delhi's infrastructure activity in the region.
The Ladakh border dispute remains unresolved despite 13 rounds of military commander-level talks between the two nations and several high-level exchanges involving the foreign ministers of the countries.
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