Road construction on Chinese side of int’l border sends HP villagers into a tizzy
Amid the ongoing India-China standoff over the international boundaries in Ladakh, heightened activities of Peoples Liberation Army along the international border in tribal Lahaul and Spiti, and Kinnaur districts has raised concern for the Himachal Pradesh government . China has accelerated road construction along the villages near the international border.
Road construction along the Indo-China border, on no man’s land, came to fore after villagers of Kunnu-Charang in Kinnaur raised an alarm and informed the local administration and border patrol party.
China has accelerated work of road construction along the Indian border in Tango and Yamrang regions, which are close to Chitkul and Charang villages on the Indian side. Both Yamrang and Tango in China are controlled Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).
The villagers have asked security agencies to increase vigil along the border. China stepped up activity in the region after air incursions was reported in the sensitive Kuarik sector in April. Chinese choppers had violated the Indian air space twice in April.
The Indian army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police that man the border had increased vigil since then. The ITBP had recently sent a team that also included locals to conduct recce in the high mountainous terrains. The team spotted road construction along the Indian border on the Chinese side.
“Two months back there was road construction till Tango village on the Chinese side but this time they have constructed 20km road beyond this village. The construction activity was accelerated after melting of snow,” said Baldev Negi, member of the local team who recce the area.
He added that China is constructing the road at a rapid pace at Yamrang village. “There is no mobile network in the region and road connectivity is poor on the Indian side. There is fear among villagers that the Chinese troops could invade the Indian territory,” he said.
“The Indian side has also restricted movement of shepherds along the border. There is need to strengthen road and telecommunication network in the border regions,” said Puran Singh Pradhan, Kunnu- Charang panchayat.
After 20 soldiers were killed in a hand-to-hand combat between the Indian and Chinese troops in the disputed Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, the ITBP has stepped up vigil along the international border in tribal Lahaul and Spiti, and Kinnaur districts of Himachal Pradesh.
ITBP, in its report sent to the Union ministry of home affairs, reported that by and large the situation is peaceful but there is a lot of movement of civilian vehicles.
Deputy commandant of ITBP visited the border post at Lepcha to conduct surveillance after Indian-Chinese troop skirmish in Ladakh. Later, army and ITBP, along with other intelligence agencies, took stock of the situation.
The Himachal Pradesh Police have also issued advisory to district police chiefs of Kinnaur and Lahual Spiti districts to take precautionary measures, ensure security of locals, and collect intelligence so that it can draw future plan of action.
Himachal shares 260km porous borders with China. Of the total border length, 140km is along Kinnaur district, while 80km falls in Lahaul and Spiti district.