Arunachal-China dispute: Real issues lost in rhetoric

Arunachal Pradesh, China, Border, Doklam, Army, Troops, Porters
What constitutes Arunachal Pradesh’s border with China is an undemarcated line that locals or troops on either side have little understanding of. | Illustration - Prathap Ravishankar

A common refrain of militant groups in the Northeast, to somehow justify their armed rebellion, is that the region gets national attention only when it creates ruckus or threatens to secede.

Studies of representation of Northeast in mainland media, done over the years, will tell that the assessment is not entirely baseless.

Militancy is a dominant theme in the national narrative about the multi-ethnic region. Exception to this narrative is Arunachal Pradesh, the only seven-sister state which has not spawned home-grown insurgency. In case of Arunachal, China is the nation’s strongest emotional-connect with the state.

It immediately gets ample space in national discourse when there is a mention about a threat to it from China.  Only last month BJP MP from Arunachal East Tapir Gao catapulted the northeastern state into the nation’s collective consciousness when he urged the Lok Sabha, “Please don’t allow the next Doklam in Arunachal Pradesh as China has encroached more than 50 km of land of the state.”

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