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Chinese Occupation of Model Villages Along LAC

Why is it in the news?

  • Chinese nationals have begun occupying model villages known as “Xiaokang” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India’s de facto border with China.
  • These villages, built since 2019, are strategically located across from areas like the Lohit Valley and the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.


More about the news

  • China has been constructing a significant number of these “well-off villages,” totalling 628, along India’s borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region, including Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • While the exact purpose of these villages is not explicitly stated, they are believed to serve dual-use functions, potentially accommodating both civilian and military activities.

   India’s Response

  • In response to China’s infrastructure development along the LAC, India has also accelerated its efforts to enhance border infrastructure. This includes initiatives to improve connectivity to border areas, construct alternate routes to the LAC, and connect these routes effectively.
  • Under the Vibrant Villages program, India aims to modernize 663 border villages with all necessary amenities, with a focus on 17 villages along the China border as a pilot project.
  • Additionally, significant highway projects are underway in Arunachal Pradesh, including the Trans-Arunachal Highway, Frontier Highway, and East-West Industrial Corridor Highway, aimed at improving connectivity and accessibility in the region.


Line of Actual Control (LAC)

·       The Line of Actual Control serves as the de facto boundary between India and China, stretching over approximately 3,488 kilometres.

·       However, the exact alignment of the LAC is not clearly defined and remains a subject of dispute between the two countries.

·       Disputes over historical treaties and agreements, such as the McMahon Line, have led to recurring border tensions and occasional clashes, particularly in regions like eastern Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, and western Uttarakhand.

Current Status

·       Tensions along the LAC have escalated since 2020, with both sides engaging in standoffs and deploying military forces to the region.

·       The deadly clash in the Galwan Valley in 2020 resulted in casualties on both sides and significantly heightened tensions between India and China.

·       Despite ongoing efforts through diplomatic channels and military dialogues to disengage and de-escalate the situation, infrastructure development activities by both sides near the LAC continue to complicate matters.


·       The lack of a clearly defined and mutually agreed-upon LAC makes territorial claims ambiguous and prone to misinterpretation, leading to heightened tensions.

·       Historical mistrust and differing geopolitical perspectives between India and China hinder efforts to reach a mutually acceptable solution to border disputes.

·       Increased military presence and infrastructure development near the LAC raise concerns about the potential for further escalation and conflict.


·       Prioritizing peaceful resolution through sustained diplomatic engagement and dialogue is crucial to easing tensions and resolving border disputes between India and China.

·       Maintaining a strong military presence along the LAC serves as a deterrent against potential misadventures and aggressive actions by either side.

·       Enhancing infrastructure development in border areas, including improved connectivity and logistical support, can contribute to better border management and regional stability.

·       Seeking international support and building consensus on India’s position regarding the LAC issue can help strengthen India’s diplomatic efforts in resolving border disputes.

·       Maintaining domestic consensus and unity on border issues is essential for presenting a cohesive and united front in negotiations and interactions with China.



Way Forward

  • Addressing the complex and multifaceted challenges posed by the India-China border dispute requires sustained efforts and cooperation from both sides.
  • There is no easy solution to the LAC issue, and a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach that addresses historical, political, economic, and strategic dimensions is necessary.
  • Continued dialogue, diplomacy, and confidence-building measures are essential to building mutual trust and understanding between India and China and achieving lasting peace and stability along the LAC.

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