Chinese road-building teams have entered around one kilometre inside Indian territory in Tuting area of Arunachal Pradesh last week but returned after being confronted by Indian troops, according to reports. 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. The incident took place on December 28, nearly four months after the end of the 73-day long Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector. The sources said on December 28, Indian border patrolling personnel observed few Chinese civilians undertaking track alignment activity one kilometre inside the Indian territory in Tuting area. They maintained there was “no face off” between the two sides and that the issue is being resolved through an established mechanism.
Official sources the issue is being resolved through established coordination mechanisms between the two countries. They, however, refused to give any time-frame for returning the Chinese equipment.
According to sources, the Chinese track construction party was building a 12-feet wide, 1-km long track inside Indian territory. Because of the curved nature of tracks in mountain areas, it meant that the Chinese were nearly 400 metres inside Arunachal Pradesh.
Although Bishing falls on the disputed LAC, it is not an area which witnesses Chinese incursions or clashes with Indian patrols. While this remote area, at an altitude of over 12,000 feet, is manned by the ITBP, the track construction activity took place about 2 km away from the nearest ITBP post.
It is unusual for the Chinese to undertake track construction in the area, more so during winter months. A senior official, however, told The Indian Express that this incident is “nothing out of the ordinary since perceptions of LAC differ. Our stance is that status quo cannot be altered unilaterally. Mere initiation of such unilateral activity in proximity of LAC by the Chinese is violently objected to.”