India developing villages along LAC in Arunachal Pradesh as tourists hubs to counter China


Itanagar: India has been developing border villages in its north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh as tourist hubs to assert dominance over China near the line of actual control (LAC). Tension between both the countries escalated further last week after Beijing renamed 11 places in the Indian state which it calls “Zangnan, the southern part of Tibet.”

The development is seen as India’s fitting response to China’s so-called model villages or xiaokang close to the LAC in areas stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh in last 10 years, a report by Hindustan Times quoted people familiar with the development as saying.

Most of these villages are in close proximity to strategically important positions on the Indian side that has been raising concerns among the border forces in India who believe that China could use these regions as staging camps in case of a conflict.

Who are staying in these villages?

“Most of these model villages built by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are occupied by either the labourers used by PLA for various construction activities near the LAC or by its troops,” the report quoted an army officer as saying.

The army officer further said developing villages border villages in Arunachal as tourist hubs “was really necessary to assert our (India’s) dominance at the LAC.”

He added that India’s civil-military coordination over the last few years to develop the area has been “historic”.

Tourist hubs along LAC in Arunachal Pradesh

These tourist hubs will boost the economy of Arunachal Pradesh and also prevent migration of youths from border villages to cities for better employment opportunities.

The report quoted people, asking not be named, saying that the emphasis will be on developing homestays, treks, camping sites, adventure sports activities and spiritual tours.

Work on beautifying homestays, camping sites, zip-lines and trekking routes in Kaho — the first village on Indo-China border in eastern Arunachal Pradesh — and in Kibithoo as well as in Meshai are on in full swing.

Other areas where development is being carried out include Anjaw district in the eastern part of Arunachal which is home of the Mishmi and Meyor tribes.

Tour to World War II planes’ crash site in Arunachal

To lure tourists, the government in Arunachal Pradesh has been actively considering promoting tours to the World War II planes’ crash sites in the state, which has a 1,129 km (about 701.53 miles) long international border with China, the report quoted people saying.

The US lost around 650 aircraft and nearly 400 airmen in “The Hump” during the second world war.

“The Hump” is a route in Arunachal Pradesh, Tibet and Myanmar, which was used by the allied forces to airlift materials and supplies to the Chinese army over the Himalayas.

For the convenience of tourists, the state administration has decided to build a commercial landing ground for helicopters at Walong.

India building mini hydropower projects along border with China

The government of Arunachal Pradesh is also constructing 50 mini hydropower projects along the border with China for electrification of remote villages and military establishments.

The micro, mini and small hydropower projects of 10–100-kilowatt capacity are being built at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore under the “Golden Jubilee Border Village Illumination Programme”