Saturday, 11 April 2015

India bolsters border presence ahead of Modi’s Beijing visit

India has decided to bolster its control of the disputed border region of Arunachal Pradesh ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China next month, according to a report from the Indian Express.
Arunachal Pradesh has been an official Indian state in the northeastern part of the country since 1987 despite also being claimed by China as part of the Tibet autonomous region. Despite positive developments, relations between Beijing and New Delhi remain strained due to the territorial dispute, with each side having accused the other of inflaming tensions near the Line of Actual Control between the two countries over the last few years.
According to the Indian Express report, Modi’s administration will deploy an additional 8,000 men, open 35 new roads and create 54 border outposts and 72 staging camps along the Chinese border.
The deployment is part of the “in principle” approval by India’s Union Home Ministry to raise 16 additional battalions of the Indo Tibetan Border Police Force, of which around eight battalions will be deployed primarily in Arunachal Pradesh.
Kiren Rijiju, Indiana’s minister of state for home affairs, said that the border outposts will each be 50 kilometers apart and add to the existing 45 posts in the region. “It’s going to be a huge exercise,” he added.
The timing of the announcement has raised eyebrows given that Modi is set to travel to Beijing next month and could add to the awkwardness of his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, who visited New Delhi last September. Some analysts believe the move is intentional as a means to increase India’s bargaining chips in economic negotiations.
Late last month, special representatives from the countries met for the 18th round of talks on the border dispute, though there was reportedly little progress as each side stuck to their own long-standing principles.
Source: Defence News

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