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India-China clash: What is Tawang's strategic importance for India?

Arunachal Pradesh: The two sides disengaged immediately and a flag meeting was organised to restore peace and tranquility.

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DNA Web Team

Updated: Dec 13, 2022, 10:00 AM IST

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New Delhi: Over two years after the deadly Galwan clash, the Indian and Chinese troops clashed on December 9 in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector. The faceoff resulted in minor injuries on both sides.

The clash took place along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) near Yangtse.

The Indian Army said in a statement: "On December 9, PLA troops contacted the LAC in Tawang Sector which was contested by their own (Indian) troops in a firm and resolute manner. This face-off led to minor injuries to few personnel from both sides".

The two sides disengaged immediately and a flag meeting was organised to restore peace and tranquility in the region.  

According to PTI reports, 200 Chinese soldiers carrying spiked clubs and sticks had entered into the Indian side of LAC and were pushed back. The Army said there is a difference in perception of the LAC in certain areas of Tawang. Both sides send their patrol parties.

In June 2020, 20 Indian soldiers died in the line of duty in a hand-to-hand clash with the Chinese army in Galwan Valley. An unspecified number of Chinese troops had also perished in the brutal combat.

Where is Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang? Why is it strategically important?

Tawang is situated at the height of 17,000 feet. This place is strategically important for India. In the 1962 war, China captured vast swathes of the area but later vacated it as it falls under the McMohan line.

Since then, China has had its eyes on Indian territory at Tawang.

Also read: Enough room for India, China; countries should avoid geopolitical traps: Chinese envoy Sun Weidong

China wants to capture the Tawang post so that it can keep an eye on LAC and Tibet. The communist country tries to dominate the region.

Tawang also has a Dalai Lama connected. In 1959, Lama had escaped China-held Tibet and came to India seeking asylum. He stayed in the region for some days.

From India's perspective, both Tawang and Chamba Valley are strategically very important. While Tawang is situated near the China-Bhutan border, Chamba is near the Nepal-Tibet border. China considers a large chunk of Arunachal Pradesh its territory. If it captures these two posts, it can have a strategic advantage over India in Arunachal.

India, however, hasn't been taking any chances. The country has been developing infrastructure near all important borders with China. Since the Galwan attack, India has been investing resources in countering China's expansionist designs.

India and China have been holding military and diplomatic level talks to resolve the eastern Ladakh standoff. The two sides managed to come on the same page regarding disengagement at several friction points but the standoff still continues.

Outgoing Chinese envoy to India, Sun Weidong, in his farewell address in October, stressed the need to manage and resolve differences between India and China and uphold the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

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