Since 2017, China has built more than 600 border defense villages along the Himalayan border with India and Bhutan. While most of the villages under the “Xiaokang” (well-to-do) border villages program are on Chinese territory, some are located in areas belonging to India and Bhutan which have been under Chinese control for decades.
At least one of these villages with around 100 Allied houses and infrastructure has appeared in the Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, near the actual line of control of the area. The territory on which the village was built had been under Chinese control since the late 1950s.
Reports citing defense establishment sources said the area was lost to China in a clash in 1959, called the Longju Incident.
The Longju clash took place in August 1959, just months after the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa for fear of Communist repression and reached India.
Retired Majors-Generals GG Dwivedi and PJS Sandhu gave a brief account of the Longju incident in their book 1962 War – The Unknown Battles: Operations in the Subansiri and Siang Border Divisions.
According to the authors of the book, the Chinese considered the Shannan region in Tibet, which adjoins the part of Arunachal where the new village was born, “as the home of Tibetan reactionaries.”
“This view seems to have been further reinforced by the fact that the Dalai Lama fled to India through this region. The traditional routes from Lhasa to Tawang and beyond also pass through the Shannan region of Tibet. Shannan region is considered extremely important by China. It is located southeast of Lhasa and is seen as a gateway to the old NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh), “they write in the book.
“This greatly upset the Chinese authorities because they believed that the rebellion had been started by India and aimed to guarantee the independence of Tibet”, add the authors.
The Chinese have set up a post at Migyitun in Tibet, not far from Longju, where there was an Indian border post held by the Assam Rifles.
On June 23, 1959, less than three months after the arrival of the Dalai Lama in India, the Chinese Foreign Ministry handed a note to the Indian adviser in Beijing (now Beijing) accusing India of “intrusion and occupation of Migyitun, Samgar Sanpo and others in the Tibet region of China and their collusion with the Tibetan rebel bandits ”.
“… the Migyitun region in the southeastern part of China’s Tibetan region has been invaded, bombed (and) occupied by more than 200 Indian soldiers. These Indian troops, equipped with radio stations and weapons of various types, were building military works around Migyitun, “the note read.
In its response three days later, the Indian government “categorically rejected any suggestion that its forces violated the international border” and said the areas mentioned in China’s memo are “on Chinese territory in Tibet” .
“The closest Indian government outpost in this region is at Longju. It is south of Migyitun and within the Indian side of the traditional international border,” the Indian note added.
However, despite India’s recognition of Migyitun as Chinese territory, the Chinese attacked the Indian post of Longju on August 25, 1959. Chinese troops of the 2nd Company of the 1st Regiment of the Shannan Military Sub-command attacked the personnel of 9 Assam riflemen occupying the Indian post of Longju, write Major Generals Dwivedi and Sandhu in their book.
The Chinese opened fire on an Indian advance picket of 12 soldiers. The Indian soldiers were later arrested by Chinese forces, although eight of them managed to escape in one way or another. This was followed by an attack on the Indian outpost at Longju by a Chinese detachment.
Chinese forces overwhelmed the Indian outpost and opened fire on it from a distance of about 800 meters, India said in its protest note handed over by the Indian Ambassador to the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the 28th. August.
In its protest note, the Indian government said the Longju post was “about two miles south of the international border” and said the objective of the Chinese attack on Longju was “clearly to bring our forward under control. -station which was well on our territory “. .
On August 26, a day after the first attack, Chinese forces surrounded the Indian post at Longju and opened heavy fire.
“Our staff therefore had to abandon the post. We have no precise information on their fate,” reads the note of August 28.
The Chinese note on the issue, delivered to the Indian ambassador on August 27 (a day before the Indian note) accused Indian forces of intrusion and gunfire.
“… on August 25, 1959, a group of Indian armed troops broke into Chinese territory south of Migyitun and suddenly opened fire on Chinese border guards stationed at Migyitun, firing dozens of machine gun shots and Afterwards the Chinese border guards retaliated in self-defense. The above armed troops withdrew from this area, “he said.
After this incident, India did not reoccupy the post in Longju.
“Assam’s riflemen did not reoccupy Longju and instead established a post at Maja, 10 km south of Longju, on August 29, 1959”, write Dwivedi and Sandhu, adding, “… after this incident, With effect from August 27, 1959, the defense of the NEFA, which until then had been the responsibility of the Intelligence Office of the Ministry of the Interior and that of the Assam riflemen of the Ministry of External Affairs, became the responsibility of the army. Indian.