Chinese nationals occupy border villages along LAC, sparks concerns

Recent developments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have revealed that Chinese nationals are now occupying several of the model “Xiaokang” border defense villages constructed by India since 2019. According to reports, these villages, shrouded in ambiguity regarding their purpose, are suspected to function as “dual-use infrastructure,” accommodating both civilian inhabitants and military personnel.

Sources suggest, Chinese infrastructural development extends beyond Tawang, encompassing areas like the Siang valley of Arunachal Pradesh. The report further highlights China’s continuous efforts to bolster existing infrastructure, including connectivity improvements through passes, road construction, bridge building, and the establishment of model villages.

Moreover, China’s infrastructure development projects extend into Bhutanese territory. In response, India has ramped up its efforts to fortify border infrastructure, with particular focus on enhancing forward connectivity and establishing alternative routes to the LAC.

Initially vacant, the two-storey, spacious buildings within these villages have witnessed an influx of Chinese nationals in recent months, raising questions about the nature of their occupancy—whether civilian or military.

Meanwhile, India plans to modernise 663 border villages under the Vibrant Villages program, with 17 villages along the China border selected for development as pilot projects. In Arunachal Pradesh, specific villages in the eastern region and in Tawang, such as Zemithang, Taksing, Chayang Tajo, Tuting, and Kibithu, have been earmarked for development.

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