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China has illegally occupied tens of kilometre of Indian territory in the past, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Arunachal Pradesh Tapir Gao said reacting to reports of a new Chinese settlement in contested territory in Upper Subansiri district.

China has already made deep inroads in Indian territory, Gao told EastMojo.

“They have built a two-lane road. This is not today’s. It happened after 1962 when China came and occupied Indian territory. This village is in the territory that they had occupied,” Gao said referring to an NDTV report that mentioned satellite imagery to say China has built a new village with 101 homes on the banks of River Tsari Chu in the Upper Subansiri district, a disputed area.

“The village is new but it’s in a territory that has been under the illegal occupation of China, beyond the McMahon Line,” Gao said.

“As per satellite images, they settled it in 2019 and 2020,” Gao said.

“China has made settlements and come in up to 40-50 kilometres inside the Indian territory. If you look it up on google, you would see. This is all in Upper Subansiri,” said Gao.

“I have written to concerned authorities in the past,” Gao, who represents the Arunachal East constituency in the Indian Parliament and has been raising the issue of Chinese occupying Indian territory, said.

News of new Chinese construction has brought the focus back on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the Eastern border even as India and China continue to be in a military stand-off on their Northern border in the cold desert of Ladakh.

Gao, however, said that going to war with China is not an option.

Eastern Arunachal MP Tapir Gao

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“The government has to discuss the issue at bilateral forums. We can’t go to war. We have to keep China engaged and tell them that it’s our territory,” Gao said.

The parliamentarian stressed on the need to build more roads, shoring up border infrastructure and India’s defence capabilities.

“Our defence has to be strengthened. Roads and other infrastructure needs to be developed. We should make airfields. That’s the only solution,” he said.

Meanwhile, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) on Thursday said it has taken serious note of China reportedly establishing a village in Upper Subansiri district in the northeastern state and demanded that the Centre initiates appropriate counter-measures to check Beijing’s “expansionist” move.

Condemning China’s “provocative” move, the apex students’ body of the state alleged that the Centre’s “lethargic and non-committal” approach other than mere lip service vis-a-vis Chinese antics is emboldening the neighbouring country to carry out their “expansionist design”.

“Chinese claim over our state has given rise to myriad problems notably the stapled visa issue and Siang river imbroglio, which still remains inconclusive till date despite the union bringing up the issue at the highest level several times,” AAPSU chief Hawa Bagang said in a statement.

Bagang stated that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and the people are proud and patriotic Indians.

If the nation calls for duty, the youths are ready to stand up even with arms to defend the country, he said.

The AAPSU also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the happenings in the frontier state seriously, not only in terms of military deployment but also match with China in terms of infrastructure development and road connectivity.

(With inputs from PTI)

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