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India's NDTV news channel claimed that Chinese authorities had constructed a “full-fledged village that can house thousands”, 4.5 km within "Indian territory". The buildings are located in Arunachal Pradesh‘s Upper Subansiri district and were erected between August 2019 and November 2020. The area is near the eastern stretch of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating both countries.
Sovereignty over the territory has been a contentious issue ever since the demarcation line was drawn up by the British in 1914.
China has always rejected the terms of this agreement and sees the region as belonging to South Tibet.
Since 2017 Beijing has poured money into the region, building several villages in the border area of the Tibet autonomous region.
The constructions are all part of a US$4.6 billion plan by Chinese authorities to ensure political stability in the area.
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In response to the news report, India’s External Affairs Ministry issued a statement saying it had been keeping “constant watch” on developments.
It added that India was also stepping up border infrastructure projects including roads and bridges to provide “much needed connectivity to the local population”.
Some experts believe that matters could yet escalate into another war over the territory.
Beijing and New Delhi have already fought each other twice in Arunachal Pradesh, once in 1962 and again in 1986.
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India lost at least 20 soldiers in the violent skirmishes
Sameer Patil, a fellow with the international security studies programme at the Mumbai-based think tank Gateway House, said it was “evident” that Arunachal Pradesh could become a new "flashpoint" between the two Asian superpowers.
He told SCMP.com: "“The longer-term Chinese strategy seems to be around this region because the construction of the village has been done over a year.
"India’s response to this construction – to upgrade construction in the region – also indicates this.”
Last summer Indian and Chinese troops clashed in Ladakh in the Himalayan border region.
At least 20 Indian soldiers died in the violent skirmishes.
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