China, 1962 And 2022: Why Arunachal's Republic Day Tableau This Year Is Special
Arunachal Pradesh's tableau for the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi is special this year for more than one reason.
Apart from featuring the prospect of tourism in the northeastern state, the tableau will highlight various initiatives taken by the state government to build infrastructure for road, rail and air connectivity.
But more importantly, the tableau will feature the 1962 War Memorial of Tawang, built to commemorate the sacrifices made by the soldiers who fought the Chinese against heavy odds and died in the conflict.
The memorial, located near Tawang town, incorporates traditional Buddhist architectural and cultural elements such as prayer wheels, flags, and colourful serpents and dragons.
The memorial also features statues of deities like Lord Buddha inside. Ornamental decorations have been donated by the local Tawang population as tribute, highlighting the sanctity of the memorial.
It is a 40-foot tall, multi-coloured structure located among the picturesque snow-capped peaks, with a view of the Tawang-Chu valley.
The memorial has the names of 2,420 soldiers who lost their lives in the 1962 war etched in gold on 32 black granite plaques.
The inclusion of the Tawang War Memorial in the tableau is significant given the renewed tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) following clashes with China in Tawang in December last year.
Interestingly, the tableau will also feature the newly constructed Donyi Polo Airport, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2022. The airport, built as part of a massive infrastructure development push in the Northeast by the centre, is estimated to service some 20 lakh people in the region and help boost tourism in the state.
Over the last decade, China has used tourism to consolidate its border with India in Tibet. The growth in tourism, enabled by the massive development of infrastructure in border areas, has turned border villages into new tourist hotspots and herders into hoteliers.
Earnings from tourism — as high as 100,000 yuan ($15,000) in a season in some cases — act as an incentive for people to move to border areas from the interiors of Tibet, increasing the population along the frontier.
For instance, Nyingchi, a city in Tibet located around 40 km from the frontier with Arunachal, has turned into a tourist hub. Tourist arrivals have gone up sharply with the construction of an airport in Mainling.
It was at this airport, located only 15 km away from Tibet's border with Arunachal, that Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in 2021 for his first visit to Tibet after assuming the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012.
Among other attractions, the tableau will also showcase the Shingpho festival, celebrated, specifically among the Monpa community, to mark the end of the harvest season, and is typically held in the month of January or February.
As many as 36 artists donning the traditional attire of various tribes of the state will be part of the programme.
Also Read: Why China Would Be Closely Watching The Inauguration Of Arunachal's First Greenfield Airport
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