China has constructed a new village in Arunachal Pradesh, which consists of over 100 residential units. The area falls approximately 4.5 km within the Indian territory of the de facto border, reported NDTV, citing satellite imagery from Planet Labs, a private US-based imaging company.

In a photo from November 1, 2020, about 101 homes can be seen in a village, located on the banks of River Tsari Chu, which lies in Upper Subansiri district, an area which has been long disputed by India and China and been marked by armed conflict.

In June last year, India and China indulged in the deadliest clash in decades, in Galwan Valley killing 20 Indian soldiers. China has never publicly stated its casualties. The stand-off continues through the winter as thousands of soldiers from both sides remain deployed on the frontline at extreme altitudes in sub-zero temperatures.

According to the NDTV report, an image dated August 26, 2019, does not show any construction activity, while that from November 1 last year shows the established village. So, the village was likely set up in those 15 months.

The Foreign Ministry, which was also sent the satellite images, did not challenge the pictures. It said, “We have seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along the border areas with India. China has undertaken such infrastructure construction activity in the past several years,” the ministry said, as quoted by NDTV.

The government reportedly added that it is committed to improve infrastructure in the border areas to provide connectivity to the local population.

In October last year, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said India ramping up infrastructure development along the border and stepping up military deployment is the root cause for tensions between the two sides. However, as seen in the photos, there are no signs of Indian road or infrastructure in the immediate vicinity of the new Chinese village.

Arunachal MP Tapir Gao has been vocal in raising issue about Chinese intrusion referring specifically to the Upper Subansiri district, and border demarcation. He said, “China has entered more than 60-70 kms inside the upper Subansiri district if you follow the path along the river. They are constructing a road along the river known locally as the Lensi as it flows in the direction of the Subansiri river.”

Dodging the question if the foreign ministry has raised the issue with China about the village, the ministry said the government is keeping a constant watch on all developments and taking necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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