The Bishing village in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tuting area in Upper Siang district, the point closest to where the Chinese road construction machines rolled, almost 1.25 km inside the imaginary Line of Actual Control or the McMohan Line, is the symbol of India’s yet-to-be-connected places.
The road that was built runs alongside the eastern bank of the blackened Siang river that flows from Tibet as Yarlung Tsangpo.
While the neighbours have driven right through the international border, Bishing does not have a motorable road. It was a local youth John, a porter who carries supplies to ITBP posts, who first saw the Chinese excavators at work last month while on a routine trek. He alerted the ITBP, which who in turn got the Army there.
“We are bound by policies. The PMGSY norms say that a village needs to have at least 100 people to have a government-built road. Bishing’s population is just 54 comprising 16 households and that is why there is no road,” additional deputy commissioner in-charge of Tuting circle, K Apang told TOI.
The point to which the Chinese excavators reached is at the highest point in the area, at about 4000ft. It is about an eight to 10 days walk from the Bishing village. Villagers have to walk almost 4km and then cross the Siang by a bridge to reach Geling, another 4km away, which is the last point with a motorable road.”The area where the Chinese came is almost inaccessible and no one except the village hunters venture out there. It is a steep climb. Till this episode came to light we all thought that this area is no man’s land as there is no river or stream to demarcate the international boundary. Only recently when we saw google maps, we realized that this is our land,” Apang said. He added that the Chinese had already constructed 1250 metre (1.25km) of road inside Indian territory.
“It’s all normal now. The Chinese and Indian Army people shook hands at the place and they have left along with the two excavators, which have been repaired. We do not know what their motive was. The Army is now here, deployed along with the ITBP men,” he added.
But a defence source said that the Chinese might have opened a second frontier after Doklam. “The Chinese road building move happened soon after the end of the Army’s month-long annual EWT (early warning test) along the border. Because of the standoff at Doklam, this time the EWT deployment was larger and but the month’s time ended all the additional soldiers were withdrawn and that is when this road building happened,” the source said.
The EWT is an exercise when the soldiers and commanders from every location move to their operational areas, which is different for every Army formation, and remain there for a month before returning to their bases.
The point of incursion also faces the Nyingchi prefecture in China where the Chinese PLA’s Tibet Military Command held live-fire exercise during the Doklam standoff.