NEW DELHI - Locals from the Arunachal Pradesh province of India have claimed that India and China, which can’t agree on the border in the region, have once more been drawn into a border spat over Chinese construction in the disputed area – a charge that Beijing has flatly denied, Sputnik has reported.
Chinese and Indian troops have allegedly faced off in Arunachal Pradesh since December 28, with a similar backstory to the standoff in the Doklam Plateau over the summer. Chinese workers were allegedly constructing a railway track half a mile into the disputed territory when Indian troops stopped them.
The workers fell back, but were replaced by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The troops pitched tents along the road, local man Nyomin Tekseng told Express. "The road cutting is also clearly visible from the right bank of Siang river at Gelling, which is about 7-8 km by aerial distance from the site," he said. [image: Indian army soldiers patrol 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 and Chinese troops had pitched tents at the freshly cut road and had erected a boulder wall."
New Delhi has been silent about the supposed standoff, and Indian media has denied that there was any such face-off and said the issue was resolved diplomatically.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, has disputed that its troops were involved in any scuffle with New Delhi over Arunachal Pradesh. Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang added that China "never acknowledged the existence of so-called Arunachal Pradesh" on Wednesday.
Arunachal Pradesh has been disputed between India and China for over a century, as India holds de facto control over the province while Beijing claims it to be "South Tibet" and the sovereign territory of the PRC.
This border dispute exploded into armed conflict in 1962 during the Sino-Indian War, which China decisively won after a month of fighting. However, the PRC chose not to press their advantage and cause the limited war spiral into a full-scale conflict when the US threatened to come to India's assistance.
Instead, China returned captured Indian settlements and retreated to the pre-war borders. In 1993, a standoff between the two nations ensued near the line, but it was resolved peacefully after three weeks.
More recently, in mid-June, India and China faced off over the remote Doklam Plateau, which is disputed between China and India's close ally Bhutan. Chinese builders and soldiers appeared in the plateau to extend a road, and India responded by deploying troops to the disputed territory.
For 10 weeks, PLA and Indian military troops faced off a few hundred meters apart. Both nations pulled their troops back on August 28 following quiet negotiations between the two powers, and the road-building came to an end.
However, local media outlets have reported that China continues to maintain a large military presence near the disputed region, with Indian newspapers reporting that the PLA was building permanent military barracks a few miles away from the disputed line.