Eye on China: India to roll out infrastructure along LAC

New Delhi:In an apparent move to counter China’s ploy to expand infrastructure in villages bordering India, the Government on Tuesday has announced mega plans for the development of existing remote villages on India’s northern borders. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced Vibrant Villages Programme for the northern borders. “Border villages with sparse population, limited connectivity and infrastructure often get left out from the development gains. Such villages on the northern border will be covered under the new Vibrant Villages Programme,” she said during the Budget speech on Tuesday. Adding further, she said, “The activities will include construction of village infrastructure, housing, tourist centres, road connectivity, provisioning of decentralised renewable energy, direct to home access for Doordarshan and educational channels, and support for livelihood generation.” Shedding further light on developing the border villages, the Finance Minister said that additional funding for these activities will be provided, existing schemes will be converged, and “the government will define their outcomes and monitor them on a constant basis.” It is worth mentioning here that China has already carried out massive developmental activities in villages on its side of the LAC which, according to experts, would support the territorial claims of the communist country. New Delhi has been worried about China’s expansionist moves as well as the thinning out of own population in villages adjacent the LAC, as it may prove to be a disadvantage in long term boundary negotiations with China. Concerns have also been expressed on China’s first dedicated law titled ‘Land Borders Law’ on Oct 23 last year. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the new Chinese law which came into effect from Jan 1 this year. The law lays down provisions for border protection and “integration of border areas.” As per the new law, China is required to install boundary markers on all of its land borders in order to clearly designate the border. Experts feel that the new law has the potential to affect resolution of the ongoing India China military standoff, can add more complexities and contribute to worsen the military situation along the India China border. Interestingly, Lt Gen Manoj Pande, who has taken over as Vice Chief of Army Staff on Tuesday itself, had said in October last year as the Eastern Army Commander that “as per their (PLA) strategy model, villages have come up near the border and it is a matter of concern how that can be used. He added that the Indian Army had taken cognizance of the development in its plans. UNI ASU SHK1829

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