Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

BJP for boosting Army, ITBP presence

By Kalyan Barooah

NEW DELHI, July 5 � A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fact-finding team has called for immediate strengthening of Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) along the Chinese border to stop a �virtual creepy invasion�, and demanded constitution of a statutory high-powered autonomous border management group at the national level.

The five-member team led by national vice-president and MP Bhagat Singh Koshyari that has submitted a preliminary report on �Chinese incursions�, has recommended that there is an immediate need of creation of new posts to man gaps at different points along the international border, as also the urgent need to increase Army�s strength to match Chinese deployment.

The team members including Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Dr Rajan Sushant, Tapir Gaon and Prof. Nirmal Singh visited the forward areas of all States bordering China. India shares 4056 km of international border with China divided into three sectors � eastern, middle and western.

Set up in the backdrop of growing tensions between the two countries over demarcation of border and reports of Chinese intrusions in Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, the team has made several recommendations and demanded that a Parliamentary group be set up for detail study and overseeing of border issues.

The team toured Arunachal Pradesh in the fist leg from March 24 to 28, has made some startling observations. It discovered that till date Thagla Ridge, Namka Chu and Sumdrong Chu Valley continue to be under Chinese occupation. In 1962, when the Chinese aggression began at Thagla Ridge, about 60 km away from Zemithang on the north-westerly side.

In Kurung Kamey district, in the central part of Arunachal Pradesh, prior to the 1962 conflict, there were nine Army base camps till the actual border. Today, only two of those camps are under the control of Indian Army, while seven of them have been occupied by the Chinese Army.

In Upper Subansiri district, the Asa-Pila-Maya Army camps, which were in the Indian territory, are now under Chinese occupation. In eastern part of the State in Dibang Valley district, the Athu-pupu range is under the Chinese occupation since 2006. In Chaklagam range in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh three mountains frequented by Indian hunters have been occupied by China.

It has observed that China has devised zero-conflict strategy using nomads and grazers to invade pasture lands and grazing grounds inching quietly and providing a discreet protection to their nomads successfully unleashing a virtual creepy invasion.

Although some of the observations like Chinese game plan of developing the border areas in break-neck speed were known, the BJP has held that privacy imposed by the Government of India preventing Indians and other tourists to access the frontiers without permit has kept the region deprived of public interaction. This has impeded the awareness of Indian to the ground realities on the Chinese front.

The team also discovered that since Leh-Ladakh region is treated both by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs as non-conflict zone, the presence of Army and para-military forces is miniscule and inadequate. The large tracts of unmanned land spread into thousands of square km give enough temptation for intrusion, it remarked.

The team has reported that roads and communication are in a shabby condition. There is an urgent need of making advance landing grounds at Chushul and Furchok workable. The Government of India should speed up construction of airports in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

The local people should be involved to guard borders. It can be done recruiting the locals in Territorial Army, it was recommended.

Better way to secure border is to provide socio-economic security to people living there. The Government should take measures to provide employment opportunities, better education and health facilities.

The BJP team said successive governments since 1962 and as recent as 1996 turned a deliberate bind eye to frequent incursions and clandestine occupation of strategic posts and locations.

The issue of Chinese incursions has rocked the Parliament on several occasions in the past, with the Centre blaming the unmarked boundary as the prime cause of dispute. Both China and India have nominated special representatives to resolve the boundary dispute.

Next Story