Hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the government over the reported construction of a Chinese village in Arunachal Pradesh, Union minister Kiren Rijiju responded by saying the area in question was under Chinese occupation since the Congress’s regime.
Rijiju, the Lok Sabha Member from Arunachal West, tweeted, “Those locations you are referring to have been under Chinese occupation since very-very long Congress regime in India. How can a national leader is ignorant and unaware of sensitive facts?”
Meanwhile, sources in the Army said that the “model village” in question, built in Arunachal’s Upper Subansiri district, “has been in adverse occupation since 1959”. They said there used to be an Assam Rifles post at the location, which was overrun by the Chinese in 1959, and they have maintained their position there ever since.
The sources added that China has been building similar infrastructure in all sectors along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Indian forces are monitoring them. They said that India too is strengthening the infrastructure on its side.
“The real situation is that they are working on their side, we are working on our side,” they said.
The sources said the current incident hasn’t surprised the forces. “This has been monitored and known for a long time, and has not caught the forces by alarm,” they mentioned.
On Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement had said, “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. In response, 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.”
The ministry added that the government “remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas for the improvement of livelihood of its citizens, including in Arunachal Pradesh” and it “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”.