New complexes across Line of Actual Control puzzle Indian Army

The army of China is building villages, an extension of cantonments, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The aim of these integrated model villages is to ensure military and civilian population co-existence at the frontier.

Huge buildings with residential complexes, having sports and recreational facilities like basketball and volleyball courts, have come up in the last couple of years, sources said.

Officials said that the idea is to have dual-usage for these complexes.

However, there seems to be no takers and most of these establishments are still vacant.

"Both the army and civilians can use it. The development also strengthens the claim over land in case of an escalation. They are extensions of military cantonments," an official said.

The places also have observation towers. These places are under a close watch of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Due to differences in perception of the Line of Actual Control, that acts the as the border, there are often face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops while patrolling their areas.

There are over two dozen of these integrated villages across the LAC, while most are in the eastern sector opposite Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

There are also plans to have hotels near the integrated villages.

These villages, meant to accommodate the tribal and nomadic population on the Chinese side, are well connected by newly made four-lane roads.

"This is a relatively new concept but it's still not clear what is the idea behind it as these are close to the LAC and under a visual range," said an Army source.

While there is no plan to settle people close to the LAC on the Indian side, India has been opening some of these places for tourists.

While the overall infrastructure push has been a high priority for the Chinese on their side, India had ignored development of forward areas for long.

The areas close to the LAC have been scantly populated on both sides but there has been an attempt by China to inhabit these places.

Over the past few year, roads and overall infrastructure development has been a major priority for the Indian government and some mega road projects have been completed while some are are underway.