Days After China Renames Places in Arunachal, Amit Shah Says Not an Inch of Land Can Be Encroached

New Delhi:While China objected to his visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Union home minister Amit Shah said at a rally in the north-eastern state on Monday, April 9, that “no one could take an inch of our land”. Shah is currently on a visit to Arunachal, less than a week after China released the third batch of Chinese names for places within the Indian state.

Addressing a rally, Shah asserted that with the presence of Indian forces at the border, no one could seize even a single inch of the country’s land. “The era is gone when anyone could encroach on our lands. Now, not even land equal to‘sui ki nook’(inch of land) can be encroached…,” the minister said.


He was speaking at the Arunachal Pradesh’s border village of Kibithoo, India’s easternmost point, which was the site of the launch of the Vibrant Villages programme. Shah paid tribute to the 1962 martyrs of Kibithoo, stating that they showed an indomitable spirit during the Indo-China war despite the scarcity of resources.

Shah also emphasised that the Modi government has made border areas their top priority, which could be seen through the development and infrastructure work carried out in the Northeast. During his speech, Shah expressed that due to the round-the-clock efforts of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) jawans and army at the borders, the entire country can now rest peacefully in their homes. He added that it is a matter of pride that India can confidently declare that “no one has the power to cast an evil eye on us”

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Shah remarked that the constant efforts of the ITBP jawans and army at the borders have enabled the entire country to “peacefully sleep in their homes”. “Today, we can proudly say that no one has the power to cast an evil eye on us,” he said. Earlier in the day, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin had objected to the visit of Amit Shah as a “violation” of China’s territorial integrity.

“Zangnan is part of China’s territory. The activity of the senior Indian official in Zangnan violates China’s territorial sovereignty and is not conducive to peace and tranquillity in the border areas. We are firmly against this,” said the spokesperson. Zangnan is the name used by China to refer to Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claim in its entirety.

China has routinely objected to the visit of Indian leaders and foreign dignitaries to Arunachal Pradesh. India has dismissed these concerns, asserting that Arunachal Pradesh has and will always remain a part of India.

Speaking toThe Wire, well-known China watcher Jabin T Jacob said that there wasn’t anything new about either the home minister’s visit or China’s response. “The fact remains that the Indian government has a yen for rhetoric but this is rhetoric that is directed to domestic audiences and for domestic political reasons,” he said.

Commenting on the Vibrant Villages project, Jacob noted that there was “certainly an element of learning from China in the Vibrant Villages programme that is copied from China’s own border villages development programme all along the LAC”. “But hopefully, the Indian version will be carried out with greater sensitivity to local concerns, to environmental issues and issues of democratic accountability,” he added.

China has developed “Xiaokang” (Well-off) border defense villages along the LAC for surveillance, which have mushroomed in recent times. In 2017 during the 19th party congress, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote a letter to a Tibetan herdsman family in Lhunze County, near Arunachal Pradesh, urging them to settle down, protect “Chinese territory,” and concentrate on enhancing their hometown.

The last encounter of Amit Shah with China had been in 2019 after the Indian government changed the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Moving the resolution for abrogating some provisions of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019, Shah said that it had been a long-standing demand of Ladakh to be given UT status. He also added that when he spoke about Jammu and Kashmir, it included all the parts which are with Pakistan and China.

“Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt over it. When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it,” Shah said in Lok Sabha. While India has urged the return of PoK, Indian leaders have usually been more circumspect about Aksai Chin in order not to bring Beijing into the Kashmir imbroglio.

Lodging a protest, China said that carving off Ladakh into a separate Union territory was “unacceptable” and would directly impede its sovereignty.

India and China currently remain in a military stand-off at a couple of points in eastern Ladakh, which began in May 2020 after Chinese troops crossed over the Line of Actual Control. Indian and Chinese armies disengaged at four points after several rounds of military talks and the creation of buffer zones. But, China has shown no signs of any compromise on the two remaining areas of Depsang Plains and Demchok.

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