The otherwise peaceful 240 km border between China and Himachal Pradesh has seen some hectic building activity on the Chinese side over the last one year.
The Himachal police submitted a report to the state governor, informing him about troop and infrastructure build up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul districts, reported The Hindustan Times.
The confidential report submitted to Governor Rajendra Arlekar says the Chinese are constructing roads, bridges and helipads. State director general of police Sanjay Kundu told the media house that they have observed increased presence of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and more surveillance on the other side of the border.
A few months back, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur too had acknowledged increased Chinese presence along the state border. “China is building roads and ramping up infrastructure in Tibet. We believe the Chinese plan to set up a surveillance network at some vantage point which is located at a higher elevation so as to keep an eye on our side of the borders,” Thakur said then.
The 240 km LAC along Himachal has been by and large peaceful since the 1962 war, except for a stray incident in April last year when Chinese helicopters entered Kinnaur briefly. Days after the incident, which happened on April 11, 2020, the Ladakh intrusion happened.
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The Chinese, it seems, have changed their strategy as they ramp up infrastructure along the Himachal border. The report submitted to the governor says that China is building a road in Churup along the Pareechu river and is constructing troop quarters in several border villages.
Of late, there have been sporadic events of Chinese entering the India territory. Recently, the local police spotted Chinese marking on rocks in a village in Spiti district. The Indian Army personnel saw PLA troops at Gungrang Pass in Kinnaur in September.
The Himachal Pradesh Police have suggested building a strong communication system, an airstrip in Spiti valley and deploying battalions of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti scouts along the border to counter China’s threat.
The Himachal border is critical because Shipki La pass, in Kinnaur district, is one of the trade routes between the two countries. The 18,599-feet high pass has not seen any trading activity though since the border clash in Ladakh last year.