New Delhi was quick to react and chose to downplay the intruding by Chinese road construction personnel almost one kilometre into the Indian territory in the Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh in late December.
Sources on Wednesday claimed Chinese road-building teams entered around one kilometre inside Indian territory in Tuting area of Arunachal Pradesh last week but returned after being confronted by Indian troops.
The sources said the civilian teams came for track alignment activities and returned when confronted by the Indian troops, leaving behind various road building equipment including excavators. According to local villagers in Arunachal Pradesh, the Chinese team members included civilians as well as uniformed personnel.
“There is no troop confrontation at the site near the Bishing village in Tuting area of Arunachal’s Upper Siang district. It’s not a Doklam-like situation. The issue is being resolved through the established coordination mechanism (flag and border personnel meetings) between the two countries … the Chinese will be asked to take their road-construction equipment back,” said an official, according to a Times of India report.
But such road alignment and construction bids as well as troop transgressions across the LAC, which stretches from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, are highly unusual in the winter months, the report claimed.
China has already a permanent presence in Bhutanese territory of Doklam with around 1,600 to 1,800 troops stationed there. The Chinese army has also constructed two helipads and upgraded roads, apart from several other constructions.
Surprisingly on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing his country had ‘never acknowledged the existence of so-called Arunachal Pradesh’, while maintaining he was ‘unaware’ about any Chinese intrusion in the Tuting area last month.