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India urged to strengthen infrastructure in northern states
Publication Date : 28-07-2013
India must build and strengthen its infrastructure in its north-eastern states to balance what China has done in Tibet and northern Myanmar.
This was stated by retired Lieutenant-General Nirbhay Sharma, Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, while launching a seminar on "Issues on Sino-Indian relations and leadership change in China" organised by the Observer Research Foundation at its new premises in Rajarhat.
Compared to the massive infrastrcuture built by the Chinese in Tibet and northern Myanmar, the problem of connectivity still stares India's strategically located north-east in the face.
Other than Assam, only 66km of railway line has been built in the region since India's independence. Sharma said that poor connectivity and infrastructure have posed serious problems for Arunachal Padesh's development.
He added that India faces serious challenges from an economically powerful and developed country like China.
Beijing's core interest was to safeguard its national security, territorial integrity and sustain its development process. India has to look at China in a pragmatic manner because of a wide gap in the capabilities of the two countries.
He said despite the 1962 border conflict and both the countries being unable to resolve their border dispute, not a single shot had been fired out of anger by either side since 1967, which was a big achievement.
Strategic expert C. Raja Mohan said India has to bear in mind that China was not only a communist country but also has very strong nationalist feelings.
He regretted that India has invested very little in knowing China.
"We must end our ignorance of China. Our knowledge base on China was so abysmally small that we do not know or understand the intricacies of China's internal politics, could pose serious problems for us in managing our relations with Beijing," he said.
Mohan said that India should engage more with China both at the diplomatic and economic level. He cautioned the Indian government, saying if New Delhi does not come up with good administrating, Beijing will make deep inroads into the region at India's cost.
Manoj Joshi, a defence analyst, said China's nibbling India in Ladakh was seemingly in response to India's developing Agni 3, acquiring nuclear capability and raising a 50,000-strong strike corps, as well as due to the Indian build up along the border.
He said that the Chinese have conveniently forgotten that they too have resorted to build up along the border.
He said that as long as India and China fails to reach a mutual agreement on defining control over their respective territories, instrusions such as the one that took place in Ladakh recently will reoccur.