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International relations

India shores up China border strategy with 'Vibrant Villages'

Nearly $600m infrastructure plan counters Beijing's 'well-off society' hamlets

A snow-laden pass in Tawang in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh: China, which claims the state as Zangnan, recently announced it was renaming 11 places within it.   © AFP/Jiji

NEW DELHI -- A nearly $600 million Indian program to develop villages in northeastern areas bordering China, including in a state Beijing claims as its own, has underscored New Delhi's determination to consolidate control along the tense Himalayan frontier.

Home Minister Amit Shah, a close aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, launched the campaign this week during a visit to Arunachal Pradesh, days after China said it was renaming 11 places in the state, which it considers its territory and calls Zangnan. It was the third time Beijing announced name changes in the state, having done so in 2017 and 2021.

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