Three key focus areas of China’s massive infrastructure build up along the Sino-Indian border are: integrating the border region to Chinese mainland, accessibility to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and strengthening counter offensive capabilities. This calls for an urgent attention from New Delhi as a reactionary policy would not suffice.
Some positive developments in past years notwithstanding, Sino-Indian bilateral relations continue to be marred by the war both countries fought 54 years ago. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) that divides both is not recognized by China. Many Indian thinkers acknowledge the LAC is drawn with an ink of perception. India’s perception of what constitutes part of its territory is vastly different from that of the Chinese. An extension of its unambiguous claim over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Beijing in the past years has stepped up its border infrastructure projects. This enables the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to retain a clear advantage in military mobilization and capabilities vis-a-vis their Indian counterparts. Indian response, on the contrary, has been reactionary.
Beijing’s steadily growing infrastructure build up along LAC include roads, railway line, and fibre optics following a three pronged strategy.
Beijing’s steadily growing infrastructure build up along LAC include roads, railway line, and fibre optics following a three pronged strategy. Firstly, it aims at integrating its front lying region with Chinese mainland – a strategy most visible in China’s infrastructure projects in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), which it occupied in 1949. A defense buildup for quick mobilization supported by a strong air defense system and an uncomplicated administrative framework, is the second objective of this strategy. And thirdly, the strategy is all about extending China’s accessibility to the LAC through rail networks, and in many cases using some of the bordering countries like Nepal and Pakistan to strengthen its strategic hold in the border areas.