Mining in Tibet – Worry for India

Mining in Tibet – Worry for India

This is a guest blog by Satyendra.
China is undertaking large-scale mining operations in Lhunze county of Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh. A report on the subject said that the region has a huge trove of gold, silver and other precious metals of estimated value about $60 billion. Chinese commercial activity has entailed large scale infrastructure development as well habitation near the disputed border with India. Considering the fact that China does not recognize India’s ownership of Arunachal Pradesh, the obvious commercial interests, growing economic and military might of China and the assertive actions undertaken under Xi Jinping in the South China Sea and Doklam, India has reasons to worry. In this article, I have analyzed the issue.

Massive Ores in Lhunze

In a recent interview, a Chinese professor of China University of Geo- sciences in Beijing confirmed that there are huge mineral ores in Lhunze county.

Chinese Activities

China is a big consumer of Lithium, Gold and other minerals. Chinese economy is growing rapidly. It has great economic might and is undertaking infrastructure development in all the underdeveloped regions, particularly those which have economic potential. In recent years nearly 30, 000 Chinese herdsmen have been settled permanently in the highly rough terrain near the disputed border. Mining operations will entail infrastructural development, economic growth, increased human settlement, particularly of Han Chinese to change the demography of the Tibetan Region.

Worry for India?

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet. The Indo – China disputed border covers 3,488 Km along the LAC. Increase in Chinese population, particularly herdsmen will definitely increase the frequency of incursions and thus the potential for disputes and strengthen Chinese claims over the region. In a report, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Lu Kang told that China never recognized the so-called Arunachal Pradesh. China’s rapid infrastructure building would turn the area into another South – China Sea like scenario.

What should India Do?

India is in no position to protest mining and infrastructure development in Tibet. The local Tibetans, despite the protests, are not in a position to prevent such actions when they benefit economically and in any case the demography is being rapidly changed. India has to be prepared for the inevitable increase in the frequency of incursions by herdsmen and PLA and disputes like Doklam.

Diplomacy is not a good answer to assertions made on the basis of economic and military might. This lesson was taught to India by China in 1962. India must rapidly develop infrastructure in the region and improve the military capability to effectively resist potential Chinese assertions.
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