New Delhi: In a development that has raised eyebrows, China has initiated various projects, including a water-based research lab, a brick factory, soil testing labs, and multiple high-frequency towers along the Nepal-India border. These facilities are located within a proximity of 4-5 kilometers from the Indian territory near West Bengal. The Indian Army is closely monitoring these developments in the neighboring nation.
Strategic significance of Nepal’s border with India
Nepal shares a border with India along the Mechi River, and its closest airport to India, the Chandragadi Airport, also known as Bhadrapur Airport, is a mere 3.16 kilometers away. This airport holds strategic and security importance for India. Recent developments within a radius of 4-5 kilometers around this airport have attracted the attention of the Indian Army and security agencies. China has established a research lab, brick factory, and soil testing labs in this vicinity, News9 Live reported.
Notably, several high-frequency towers, manufactured by Chinese telecom giants Huawei and Zhing Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Ltd (ZTE), have been erected near the airport. These towers have become a point of concern for the Indian Armed Forces, as they are situated in close proximity to the Siliguri Corridor and Sevok Road Army camp.
Suspected surveillance and communication interception
It is suspected that China has set up these towers with the intention of intercepting Indian Army communication in the Eastern Theatre. Sources indicate that India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, has expressed concerns about these 5G-enabled towers. There is speculation that these towers could serve as covert surveillance radars.
The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has communicated with the Department of Telecom, bringing to light Zhing Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Ltd (ZTE)’s plans to construct high-tech data centers for a rapidly growing private Nepalese telecom company. ZTE is closely linked with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.
India’s vigilance and countermeasures
International relations expert Professor Iman Kalyan Lahiri from Jadavpur University noted, “Nepal is never a friend of India. As a buffer state, India cannot ignore Nepal. Chinese development in Nepal, close to India along the Siliguri corridor, also known as the ‘chicken neck,’ is of very high concern for SSB, ITBP and the Army.”
Although China’s intentions appear to be unsettling, the Indian Army remains vigilant and regularly intercepts information to assess potential threats. The Bhadrapur Airport has received partial funding from China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group, making Chinese influence in the area more noticeable.
India has implemented countermeasures to monitor these developments effectively, conducting continuous aerial and ground surveillance to stay abreast of any new developments along the Nepal-India border.
The strategic implications of these actions by China near the border are being closely monitored, as they have the potential to impact India’s security and regional dynamics.