Indian and Chinese soldiers clash near border
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India is set to build a road along more than 1,000 miles of its border with China in order to improve military resupply routes after numerous hand-to-hand clashes with Chinese troops. The two-lane “frontier highway” will stretch through the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
According to the Times of India, it is due to be completed within the next five years.
Running as close as 12 miles from the border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the road will allow Delhi to deploy troops and equipment rapidly.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, senior Indian Army sources said that soldiers from The People’s Liberation (PLA) have regularly entered Indian territory at Arunachal Pradesh in the last few months.
As a result, they added that Delhi is coming under increasing pressure from the Indian public to act.
On December 9, PLA troops crossed the border into the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, allegedly carrying clubs and stones.
They reportedly injured 20 Indian soldiers in hand-to-hand fighting before withdrawing back across the border.
Another purpose of the road is to prevent nomadic Chinese herdsmen from crossing the border and building settlements.
PLA soldiers have allegedly been using the herdsmen as cover to covertly cross the border and take land that is strategically important.
At the same time, China has been improving infrastructure on its side of the LAC, including the construction of major roads, airstrips and heliports.
It comes as Delhi launched its Agni-V nuclear-capable strategic missile off its eastern coast last Thursday in what has been seen as a warning sign to Beijing.
In 1962, following a short war which resulted in a humiliating Indian defeat, Beijing and Delhi agreed to a ceasefire.
However, Beijing still claims the entirety of the Arunachal Pradesh region as its own, arguing it was historically part of South Tibet in China.
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In recent years, China has also taken a more aggressive stance along the LAC as cross-border incursions have increased,
This was brutally demonstrated in June 2020 when PLA troops killed at least 20 Indian soldiers during hand-to-hand fighting in the western Indian territory of Ladakh.
Last Friday, Rahul Gandhi, an MP from the centrist Congress Party, claimed that Beijing was preparing not only for future incursions but also for a full-scale war against India.
However, the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rejected his claims.
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