Uttarakhand , another battle ground between India and China
On 27th July 2016 Harish Rawat the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand created ripples all around India by confirming that Chinese intrusion has taken place in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The incident had actually taken place on 19 July when a team led by Chamoli district magistrate and other officials from Indo-Tibetan Border Police force (ITBP) went for a survey of Bara Hoti, according to official sources. However, on the same day CM Harish Rawat took a U-Turn and said that there is nothing to be alarmed of and there is just increase in number of Chinese troops near Indian border.
At first instance this controversy may look just normal as Uttarakhand border with Chinese has not seen many transgressions from Chinese as has happened in Ladakh and Arunanchal Pradesh, or on the flip side those incidents of intrusion which has happened in Uttarakhand were not reported. Whatever may be the reason one should not forget the shrewd and bullying tactic of China, China is aware that Indian side has made areas of Ladakh and Arunanchal bordering China active. India has planned to make 1800 KM all weather road which will stretch from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh state to where the borders of India and China meet with Myanmar. The road will connect sparsely populated and poorly-connected hill communities living in four large frontier districts of Arunachal Pradesh in addition to this Indian Air Force is readying to fully operationalise seven Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in Arunachal Pradesh. In Ladakh region Indian Army has identified 2 rail links, One of them, Bilaspur-Mandi-Manali-Leh has been prioritized for undertaking Final Location Survey. The rail line, according to sources, would go a long way in helping easy movement of Army and their weaponry along the LAC with China.
Worthwhile to mention here that infrastructure development along (Ladakh and Arunanchal) has been badly lacking on India side of the LAC with China (much of this credit goes to Congress government) on the other hand China has undertook the rapid development of its border area with India and has got good network of Rail ,Road and Villages along Indian border. But under the shadow of development in Ladakh and Arunanchal the border infrastructure development of Uttarakhand has been completely neglected by all the successive governments, a grave mistake. Most of the village people in Uttarakhand due to lack of employment, Infrastructure and good agriculture are leaving their villages and migrating towards the cities. As per Census 2011, of Uttarakhand’s 16,793 villages, 1,053 have no inhabitants and another 405 have a population of less than 10. The number of such ghost villages has reportedly risen particularly after the earthquake and flash floods of 2013. The situation of Villages in border area is even worse, under such circumstances where border villages are completely uninhabited or sparsely inhabited it gives easy opportunity to Chinese troops to infiltrate and transgress on Indian side.
Uttarakhand needs immediate government response, similar to Arunanchal and Ladakh, to develop infrastructure along Chinese border,it is very unfortunate that the work on Rishikesh-Karnprayag rail link which was first proposed by Britishers and whose survey was first carried on in 1919 is still not started and till now we are just wasting money on the surveys of this important Rail link which will finally link Rishikesh to Mana the last Indian village bordering China. The increase Chinese activity near Uttarakhand borders is wake up call for Indian Government and immediate steps should be taken to improve the border connectivity in Uttarakhand, additionally steps should be taken to check the migration of people from villages of Uttarakhand and effort should be made to settle people in villages by providing proper infrastructure as China has done on its side.
China has ditched India many times and it is up to us whether we get ditched by them again!!!!
This article is written by Udit Dobhal exclusively for defenceupdate.in