In the remote region that contains the disputed border between China and India, tensions are brewing. In September, India eased restrictions on development within 100 km of the border, and now it has announced plans to build a road along the border between China and the eastern side of the remote province of Arunachal Pradesh. Reuters reports:
A senior official in the Indian home ministry’s border management department said the ministry was seeking cabinet approval for the road in Arunachal Pradesh and had preliminary support from the prime minister’s office.The road will run from the key town of Tawang in the northwest to Vijanagar in the far east and is expected to cost 400 billion Indian rupees ($6.5 billion).“The minister of state has conceived the idea of building a road that could be about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) long. The project has not been given cabinet approval but the preliminary nod from the PMO has come,” said the official who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.“China has already spread their network of roads and rail network near the border. Whatever we make on our territory should not be a concern of China.”
Xi and Modi, leaders of the two most populous countries in the world, met recently mainly to discuss trade. The talks were somewhat embittered by a standoff on the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC). (Because of the way the China and India’s short 1962 war ended, both the formal border and the LAC, is disputed.)Strong expert speculation has it that the border incident is an important reason that the subsequent Chinese investment, roughly $20 billion, was so far below the predicted amount, which was up to five times that much. That figure is significantly less than the $35 billion Japan recently invested, at a moment when China and Japan are vying to steer India’s patronage over to their side of the Asian balance of power. What happens along these remote borders can have huge implications for geopolitics.