Cong team lines up visit to assess China situation along Arunachal
A Congress delegation will visit the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh to assess the ground situation following reports of incursions by Chinese troops in the frontier state.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the revamped North East Congress Coordination Committee (NECCC) held here on Thursday.
The AICC had reconstituted the NECCC last Saturday with former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister and sitting MLA Nabam Tuki as the chairman and Assam Lok Sabha MP Pradyut Bordoloi as its convener.
The border visit has been triggered by the BJP-led Centre’s silence on reported Chinese incursions, Bordoloi told The Telegraph on Saturday.
“We want to know about the status of the border following reports of incursions but the government is silent. Therefore, we want to see for ourselves the ground situation. Even a BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh Tapir Gao ji had raised the issue of incursions in Parliament. According to him, the Chinese entered three districts of the frontier state,” Bordoloi said.
Twelve of Arunachal Pradesh’s 26 districts share a 1,080km porous border with China, which claims the frontier state to be a part of South Tibet, ignoring the McMahon Line as the boundary. The border row even led to the 1962 Indo-China war, which saw China consolidate its position in the border areas.
Bordoloi, a former Assam minister, said: “I myself tried thrice to get an answer from the government on the reported incursions. So did other Opposition members. But my questions were rejected. The government has refused to share any status. Why is the government keeping mum? That is why we have decided to visit the bordering areas to check reports of incursions.”
The Opposition Congress had in July sought a two-day debate in Parliament on the reported Chinese incursions besides a white paper on the border situation.
Bordoloi said the date of the visit and the areas to be visited in Arunachal Pradesh would be finalised in the next NECCC meeting in Shillong on September 7.
The effective border between India and China is the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that separates India-controlled areas from the territory controlled by the Chinese along the disputed border. China had referred to the LAC as the border in 1959 but it was accepted by India only in 1993 to maintain peace along the LAC. However, skirmishes still continue as is evident from the ongoing border standoff in Eastern Ladakh.
Though Tapir Gao could not be contacted, he had told The Telegraph in September 2020 that incursions by Chinese troops continued in areas such Chagalam in Anjaw district, Andrella in Dibang Valley and Thongda Hara and Ashapila in Upper Subansiri district.
Gao had raised the incursion and occupation issue in Parliament in 2019.
Gao had also told this newspaper that China had encroached up to 60km of “our land from the border” and that “we should continue to build infrastructure along the border so we have something to prove of our presence in the area”.
However, the army’s Eastern Command chief Lt Gen R.P. Kalita had in May said there had been no Chinese incursion since 1959 in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Centre has over the past few years expedited development of the border districts to facilitate the movement of armed forces and check migration from the border.