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‘China way ahead of India in border infrastructure’


New Delhi : China’s border infrastructure is way ahead of India, strategic experts observed here Wednesday and cautioned that increasing face-offs along the boundary with China may lead to conflicts and skirmishes as the two Asian powers grow economically and militarily.

The experts, mostly from military backgrounds, at a roundtable on ‘India’s border infrastructure’ organised by Observer Research Foundation here pointed out that the lack of clarity on the Line of Actual Control between India and China and the perceived boundary lines by both the countries were a big threat to strategic stability.

Brig (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal said that while there was cohesiveness in the border management of China through single command structure, India was lackadaisical in its approach.

“Chinese have set up camps very near to the border with their men acclimatised to the situation while Indian forces are based in Assam valley and they would take months even in acclimatising (in case of a conflict),” said Kanwal.

Maj. Gen. (retd) Sheru Thapliyal said the massive construction of roads and rail links in the Chinese has alarmingly increased the mobility and deployment of the armed forces in that country but “we are a long way away from matching China”.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who visited some of the border areas in Leh, Arunachal Pradesh and northern Sikkim as part of a team set up by his party to study reported Chinese incursion, said that in a situation where your borders are just based on perception, it was “very difficult to really assess the situation”.

“The whole border is a matter of perception for both India and China. While we say this is part of India as per our perception, the Chinese have a different perception. For thousands of miles there is no population and one has to believe what the system tells him. You have to believe what you were told,” he said.

Sunjoy Joshi, an ORF fellow, said China had spent $1.2 trillion since the 1990s on border infrastructure, but “India was still in a dilemma, thinking what to do to”.