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  • 19 December, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Indian & Chinese troop Clash in Tawang Sector

Indian & Chinese troop Clash in Tawang Sector

  • Recently, troops from India and China clashed along the Yangtze River in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector.
  • Since the Galwan Valley incident in 2020, this was the first incident involving Indian soldiers and Chinese PLA troops.
  • Both sides have been patrolling areas up to their claim lines since 2006.

More On the News:

  • According to the Indian Army, there are some areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang Sector where perceptions differ.
  • The LAC is divided into three sectors: western (Ladakh), central (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and eastern (Arunachal Pradesh).
  • The incident occurred a few days after China objected to Operation Yudhabhyas, an India-US joint military exercise in the Uttarakhand hills at Auli, claiming it violated border agreements from 1993 and 1996.

What does Arunachal Pradesh mean from an Indian and Chinese perspective?

Strategic Relevance:

  • The largest state in the northeast, Arunachal Pradesh was formerly known as the Northeast Frontier Agency (NEFA) until 1972. It shares international borders with Tibet to the north and northwest, Bhutan to the west, and Myanmar to the east.

To the northeast, the state acts as a shield:

  • Arunachal Pradesh, however, is regarded by China as a portion of southern Tibet.
  • Furthermore, although China may claim the entire state, its primary interest is in the Tawang district, which is located in the northwest of Arunachal and borders Bhutan and Tibet.

Bhutan Factor:

  • If Beijing gained control of Arunachal, Bhutan would have Chinese neighbours on both its western and eastern borders.
  • China has already started constructing motorable roads connecting strategic points on Bhutan's western border.


  • Due to China's control over India's northeastern region's water supply. It has built a number of dams and is able to use flooding or drought as a geostrategic weapon against India.
  • The Tsangpo river, which has its source in Tibet, enters India and travels through Arunachal Pradesh before changing its name to the Brahmaputra.
  • A dam breach in Tibet in 2000 resulted in floods that wreaked havoc in northeast India, killing 30 people and going missing more than 100 more.

Why is the Tawang Sector of Interest to China?

  • Tawang may be of tactical interest to China because it offers a strategic entrance into the northeastern region of India.
  • Tawang is a key location in the route connecting Tibet and the Brahmaputra Valley.
  • Tawang Monastery: The Galden Namgey Lhatse, the second-largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world after Lhasa's Potala Palace, is located in Tawang, which also borders Bhutan.
  • Merag Lodroe Gyamtso established the monastery in 1680–1681 to carry out the wishes of the Fifth Dalai Lama.
  • The monastery, according to China, is proof that the neighbourhood was once part of Tibet. To bolster their claim over Arunachal, they point to earlier connections between the Tawang monastery and the Tibetan monastery in Lhasa.

China's Anxieties and Cultural Connections:

  • There are some tribes in the upper Arunachal region with ties to the Tibetan people, and Tawang is a significant centre for Tibetan Buddhism.
  • There are members of the Monpa tribe who follow Tibetan Buddhism and who can be found in some parts of Tibet.
  • Some experts claim that China is concerned that the presence of these ethnic groups in Arunachal may eventually spark a pro-democracy Tibetan movement against the Chinese government.

Political Relevance:

  • The Dalai Lama entered India through Tawang in 1959 during a crackdown in China and spent some time in the Tawang monastery.

Way Forward

  • To effectively protect its interests, India must be alert to any new developments in China close to its border.
  • Additionally, it needs to develop a strong infrastructure in its difficult border regions to ensure the efficient movement of personnel and other logistical supplies.
  • Border guards should carry on their conversation, quickly disengage, keep a safe distance, and defuse tensions.

Source: The Hindu

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