New Delhi: While the erstwhile UPA government made a timid and lackluster stand against the repeated Chinese aggression across Arunachal Pradesh border, and turned a blind eye towards the strategic development of the area, the Narendra Modi led NDA government has stood firm on the need to tackle the red dragon lurking across the eastern border.
The work done by Chinese government makes its side look modern and developed but the infrastructure on Indian side has been left idle right since the 1962 Sino-Indian war, as the previous government was in constant fear of a Chinese attack.
Out of Arunachal Pradesh’s total area of 84,000 sq. kms., China claims 65,000 sq. kms. to be South Tibet and legitimately Chinese territory. In 1914 some tribal majority areas were separated from the erstwhile Darrang and Lakhimpur districts of Assam province of British India to form the North-East Frontier Tracts (NEFT). After Indian Independence in 1947 NEFT became a part of the State of Assam. In 1951 the NEFT was renamed the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA). Till 1972 NEFA was constitutionally a part of Assam and was administered directly by the President of India through the Governor of Assam.
On 21st January 1972 NEFA became the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh. And on 20th February 1987 Arunachal Pradesh earned full- fledged Statehood and became the 24th State of India. Therefore at least for the last hundred years there is no record of Chinese rule in this area. Likewise, There are no clear historical records of the area prior to the start of British rule in Assam in 1826.
Observing the developmental activities on the other side of the border, the Modi government has taken an unprecedented decision in order to encourage developments in Arunachal Pradesh along the McMahon Line. The ruling government plans to spend Rs 500 crore ($830 million). This money will also be used to encourage people to settle along the border. Currently, Indian administered territory up to 50 kilometres south of the border is sparsely populated owing to a lack of infrastructure. The current government has also sectioned another package of 2,400 crore rupees for the second phase of the development, stated a report published in Defence News.
If the NDA government is able to make a concerted push to develop the area, it is likely that villagers from across the region may choose to relocate. The strategic advantages of converting the immediate threshold of the territory into a population dense area are lost on New Delhi: while China has increasingly been provoking its neighbours on both land and maritime disputes. It has hardly ever done so in a populous area.
Indian Minister Kiren Rijiju, originally from Arunachal Pradesh, raised a legitimate question that why people should be restricted from going to the border within our own territory when China has allowed its people to move about the border. The previous government cannot escape the rising question that why it did not allow the settlement and developments along the border while China started these activities a long time ago?