India - China: Chinese Strategy of Model Villages and Enlarged Buffer Zones


India - China: Chinese Strategy of Model Villages and Enlarged Buffer Zones

According to official sources,  China is continuing to expand the network of model villages or ‘Xiaokang’ (moderately prosperous) villages opposite the Line if Actual Control (LAC) in the Middle sector and Eastern sectors. In addition, new posts are also coming up about 6 or 7 km from the LAC in the Middle sector, and, in some areas, the frequency of patrolling has gone up significantly.

Opposite Barahoti for example, which has seen face-offs in the past, the Chinese are building villages at a rapid pace, sometimes as many as 300-400 houses in multi-storey blocks within 90-100 days, one source informed The Hindu, citing intelligence inputs.

Sources say PLA patrols have been observed in 15 days or so compared to once in a season earlier, which is about three or four months. Small patrols are also being seen in Mana, Neeti and Thangla areas.

“Construction of a likely border settlement village was observed northwest of Tholing area and a military complex is also under construction close by. Superstructures of buildings in both the locations are complete,” another source said.

Similarly, in Arunachal Pradesh, opposite the Kameng area, two villages have come up in Cuna country consisting of 41 dwelling units, greenhouses and solar-lighting and there are about 200 inhabitants from the Menba ethnic community, the source said. Like in several other places, there is a military complex adjacent to the village consisting of multi-storey buildings secured by a perimeter wall with CCTVs and watch towers, the source added.

As reported earlier by The Hindu, a large number of villages are under construction all along the LAC, including at Chumbi valley facing the strategically crucial ‘Siliguri corridor’.

India’s matching efforts: While China continues to expand infrastructure, The Hindu reports, India too has almost reached parity in terms of roads and other infrastructure in the Middle sector. There has also been major induction of new technology by the Indian Army along the LAC to augment surveillance and capacity.

India procures high-end technology: The Indian Army has, in the last three years, signed a series of agreements for high technology equipment, which are currently in the process of being inducted in the forward areas, official sources said.

New autonomous vehicles will soon replace animal transport for transporting rations and utilities to soldiers in forward locations and snow scooters, laser dazzlers and new generation sniper rifles have also been inducted.

In another development, official sources said that the PLA has deployed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or helicopter drone in the Middle sector, which was spotted across the LAC.

In May 2020, Chinese state media had reported that China’s first UAV meant for high-altitude areas had made its maiden flight and could be deployed along the country’s borders with India. According to Global Times, the AR-500C unmanned plateau helicopter meant for surveillance can take off at an altitude of 5,000 metres, has a ceiling of 6,700 metres, an endurance of five hours and a maximum take-off weight of 500 kg.

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