China's surveillance cameras raise hackles in India

  • Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Oct 20, 2014 22:46 IST

Nearly a month after the standoff between Indian army jawans and China's People's Liberation Army ( PLA) troops in the sensitive Chumar sector in Ladakh, the high-resolution surveillance cameras installed by the neighbouring country along the international border in Himachal Pradesh has raised hackles among Indian security agencies.

China has erected watch towers and installed high-resolution cameras along the border in the tribal Lahaul and Spiti district. China's activities have become a fresh cause of concern for Indian security agencies manning the international border along Himachal Pradesh.

Chinese activities were discussed in detail at the high-level intelligence sharing meeting between the central and state agencies held here on Monday.

Sources told Hindustan Times that the People's Liberation Army had erected new watch towers to keep vigil on movement of Indian troops amidst the continued territory standoff in Chumar sector. The international border along Himachal Pradesh is manned by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Himachal shares 220-km border with China - 140-km in Kinnaur and 80-km in Lahaul and Spiti district.

"High surveillance cameras close to India's border with China is a matter of concern," said an intelligence source.

Cameras have been installed close to the road connecting Leh-Ladakh via Manali and Kinnaur.

In August this year, China had objected to power lines being laid close to a border outpost in Shipki in the tribal Kinnaur district. Chinese army claimed that the towers for the high-transmission lines in the borders areas had been erected in their territory.

These power lines were being laid by Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB). After China's concern, the Himachal Pradesh government had sought a detailed report from Kinnaur deputy commissioner DD Sharma. Later, the state government had dismissed China's allegations about Indian intrusion into its territory. Despite the Chinese objections, HPSEB went ahead with laying of power lines.

Intelligence agencies have also raised concerns about the burgeoning drug trade in the region which they suspect is backed by the international drug cartels. It was decided to carry out a census, particularly about the foreigners staying in the villages of Kangra, Kullu and Kinnaur districts.

It was also decided that the state police will disseminate information among villagers and guest house owners to ensure that foreign guests have complete travel documents with them. The remote regions of Kullu and Kangra districts draw a large number of foreign tourists. The Kullu valley is infamous for its narcotic trade.

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