India makes a big statement in Eastern Ladakh, China looks on

India has got into assertive mode along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh

Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi

India has made a big statement in eastern Ladakh, the region which is in news for the military standoff between China and India for the past two and a quarter of a year. It has launched people-oriented projects right at the Line of Actual Control, with China looking on.

India has got into assertive mode along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh where a military standoff situation persists for the past more than 27 months. This assertion was made through civilian projects, which until recent years were unthinkable because of the disruptive and threatening attitude of the People’s Liberation Army troops.

It all happened at Demchok, one of the easternmost villages located adjacent to the LAC, Last week, it got a functional  Household Tap Connection – to be precise on July 27  under the Jal Jivan Mission of the government of India executed by the Leh administration that falls under the overall supervision of the Union  Territory of Ladakh.

MS Education Academy

Demchok runs parallel to the Indus river. This belt witnessed several skirmishes. The  Chinese troops in the initial years of this century stopped Indian road construction and other border development projects, by making threatening postures and actually disrupting the works. They would often paint on rocks that the place belongs to China, hence India should not trespass.

These hostile postures by China had made the authorities to rethink about the projects. In fact, they were shy of undertaking ant project in the area as a matter of caution, to avoid direct confrontation with the PLA troops.

It might have appeared as a small project in any other place, but for eastern Ladakh and that too in Demchok and on top of it when the military stand-off has stirred worries all over the region, transmitted to the rest of the country, particularly to the army and ministry of external affairs, this is a  milestone. It asserts the Indian authority over the territory, where developmental works for the people are undertaken without any fear.

In a clear departure from the past, the Chinese have not visited the place nor attempted to disrupt the work. This, in many ways, encourages the local authorities to undertake more such projects which would help the people and convey to the Chinese that India works for its people, not for defence purposes alone. It is relevant as China has constructed huge infrastructure on its side, network of roads,  airfields and accommodation for its troops. This is building of military assets, but India is building people-friendly projects.

The function was marked by a big ceremonial event, attended by the officials. More importantly, it was attended by the Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council ( LeH0  Tashi Gyalson. The presence of the  CEC  of LAHDC  top most elected representative of the cold desert region reinforced the point of the Indian sovereignty over the area, and as such there was no room for any contest. Gayalson was accompanied by Councillor  Nyoma, Ishey Spalzang, and the highest administrative and revenue authorities. Gaylson underscored the need for fast-tracking developmental projects in border areas. This was a message meant for China, stay away.

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