Has China Moved to Reclaim Dongzhang Waterfall Near Arunachal From Indian Army After 20 Years?

© Photo : Pema Khandu / Disputed Dongzhang Waterfall Disputed Dongzhang Waterfall Near India-China Border
Disputed Dongzhang Waterfall Near India-China Border - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.01.2022
Dongzhang is located 200-300 meters north of the Line of Actual Control—an informal ceasefire line that divides India and China. The two armies in September 2021 clashed briefly in this area, which China claims was seized by India in 2001. Beijing has long claimed Arunachal Pradesh, located at the eastern tip of the Sino-India border.
A video that emerged online on Saturday allegedly shows the Indian Army being intercepted by elements of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Dongzhang (also called Chumi Gyatser) waterfall area located in Yangtse of Arunachal Pradesh.
A 140-second video, reportedly recorded near the famous Dongzhang, was shared by user Eva, who claims to be a Chinese citizen. Dongzhang, or Chumi Gyatser, a collection of 108 waterfalls, is highly revered by Tibetan Buddhists on both sides of the border.

"... Take it easy…take it easy…," a senior Indian Army officer can be heard telling forces during what appears to be a minor duel, while soldiers being intercepted by PLA hurling abuses. Both sides are warning each other to step back.

The video emerged three weeks after a row erupted between the two countries over a decision by China's Ministry of Civil Affairs to rename 15 places, including eight residential areas, four mountains, two rivers and a mountain pass in Arunachal Pradesh, including the area where the Dongzhang waterfall is located.
Currently administered by India, Arunachal Pradesh is shown on Chinese maps as "Zangnan" or "South Tibet."
Since 2019, the Indian army and the Arunachal Pradesh government have been carrying out massive infrastructure works to develop the area surrounding Dongzhang as a tourist hub.
Pema Khandu, state chief of Arunachal Pradesh, had visited the site in May 2019 and, in July 2020, dedicated a prayer hall for locals with a newly-built statue of Guru Padmasambhava (the Lotus-born) at Dongzhang.
As border tensions heightened between India and China, with the April 2020 skirmish in eastern Ladakh, the after-effect was also felt in Dongzhang, where the two armies engaged in a bitter duel on 28 September 2021 - reportedly a rare event for this area.
"On 28 September, the Chinese border guards carried out routine patrols in the Dongzhang area on the Chinese side of the China-India border, but they were unreasonably blocked by the Indian side," China Daily stated regarding the purported incident.
Reacting to the incident, the Western Theatre of the PLA claimed that the Dongzhang area was Chinese territory, and that it was "entirely reasonable and legal for the Chinese border troops to patrol on their own territory."
On 13 October 2021, Liu Zhongyi, a Chinese researcher at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, wrote that the Dongzhang waterfall belongs to China, and is not a "disputed" area, as claimed by India.
In November 2021, an undated video emerged on Twitter in which members of the People's Liberation Army are seen marching toward what users claimed was China's Shannan district, close to Dongzhang, giving rise to speculation about the intention of Beijing to reclaim the area.
Maintaining dominance in the Dongzhang area is reportedly crucial for the Indian Army, as barely 100 km away from the Dongzhang are the plains of Assam - a key corridor that facilitates the swift movement of Delhi's military assets.
The border dispute between the two Asian giants has a complex past left behind, in part, by the British. In 1913, while extending its rule in tribal belts in the northeastern part of India, then-Foreign Secretary Henry McMahon famously drew a line in thick red ink across a small-scale map border between India and Tibet at the Simla conference, which later came to be known as the McMahon line, which is recognized by India as its current border with China. Beijing has long refused to accept the McMahon line as the border.
© Photo : US DOD / McMohan Line Between India and ChinaMcMohan Line drew by British in 1913
McMohan Line drew by British in 1913 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.01.2022
McMohan Line drew by British in 1913
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