New Delhi: China has warned India to be ‘cautious’ and exercise ‘restraint’ over treading into Arunachal Pradesh days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Dhol-Sadiya bridge linking Assam to the disputed state. The official statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry suggests that India should be cautious and restrain itself from building infrastructure in Arunachal until border disputes have been settled. China has claimed Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, while India has stuck to its stand that the state is an integral and inseparable part of India.
The Dhol-Sadiya, running a length of about 9.2 kms, is India’s longest bridge which connects Arunachal Pradesh with neighboring Assam. It will cut travel time between the two states by about five hours, reducing the distance to be covered by at least 165 kms. Analysts say the bridge has reportedly been built strategically to accommodate tanks and allow troops into the state, bolstering India’s defense along the disputed border line.
India and China had fought a war over the state in 1962 when Chinese had entered Arunachal Pradesh. Fearing another war, India has been careful on the issue since. Unfortunately, China has not shown similar restraint. They have reportedly been building infrastructure at the disputed border for a long time now. Both countries have had several altercations on and off since then. The issue is a delicate one that must be dealt with carefully, with both countries trying to find common ground.
China had last month vehemently protested spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. China brackets the Dalai Lama as a separatist and an anti-national. In response, India had stated that the leader’s visit must not be given a political angle and that it was purely for the promotion of religious harmony. The Dalai Lama had entered Arunachal Pradesh after trekking through the Himalayas when he fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising. The uprising was crushed by Chinese troops, with China coming down hard on the protesters. Beijing has since considered him a separatist.