Media Reports Chinese Incursion in Arunachal Pradesh; Experts Call it Routine

© AP Photo / Anupam NathIndian army soldiers keep watch at the Indo China border in Bumla at an altitude of 15,700 feet (4,700 meters) above sea level in Arunachal Pradesh, India. (File)
Indian army soldiers keep watch at the Indo China border in Bumla at an altitude of 15,700 feet (4,700 meters) above sea level in Arunachal Pradesh, India. (File) - Sputnik International
Barely two months after the Doklam crisis ended, a Chinese road construction team entered one kilometer into the Indian Territory, according to the Indian Express. While the Indian government tried to downplay the incursion, China has reasserted that it never recognized Arunachal Pradesh as part of India.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The alleged intrusion by a Chinese road construction team into India's Arunachal Pradesh (recognized as South Tibet by China) has been described by experts as China's routine way of asserting its position that the area is indeed a disputed territory. 

"Since 2006 China has changed its stance and saying that the entire Arunachal Pradesh is disputed. These types of incursions are basically to maintain their position that Arunachal Pradesh is a disputed territory. This is basically to position themselves strongly in border dispute negotiations," Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor of Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University told Sputnik.

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The incident occurred last week when a Chinese road construction team reportedly entered the Tuting area in Arunachal Pradesh but retreated after confronting Indian troops. The Indian troops asked them to go back after seizing their equipment, according to the news reports published in major Indian dailies.

"In fact, it has become a customary for China to create border provocation whenever there is a talk between the two countries, which is going on since 1981," Kondapalli added.

The alleged incursion happened just after the crucial meeting between Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Politburo member of the Communist Party of Yang Jiechi on December 22 in New Delhi. It was the 20th meeting of the special representatives of India and China on border issues.

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While there has been no official statement on the issue from the Indian government, the Chinese government has responded to queries on the incident by saying that China has never acknowledged the existence of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

"First of all, on the border issue, our position is clear and consistent. We never acknowledged the existence of so-called Arunachal Pradesh," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters.

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However, China also made it clear that it has no immediate intention of border aggression.

"I want to mention that between China and India, there is a well-developed mechanism for border-related affairs. Through this mechanism, China and India could manage the border affairs. Maintaining peace and stability at the border suit both China and India," Geng Shuang said.

Earlier last year in June, a face-off between India and China occurred in the Doklam area, near the strategic India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, when Indian troops stopped the road construction activity by Chinese forces.

In 2017, the Doklam plateau — a disputed territory between China and Bhutan witnessed a prolonged face-off between China's People's Liberation Army and the Indian Army which stepped in to help it's neighbor and traditional friend Bhutan when Chinese troops, in July, allegedly tried to disrupt the status quo in the disputed area by attempting to build a road in the region. China saw this as an uncalled for interference by a third party in a strictly bilateral issue, refusing to back down unless India withdrew its troops. The tension deescalated only after months of hectic negotiations between the two sides, who mutually agreed to simultaneously cut down troops deployment in the region in November.     

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