Border States Have Tourism Potential

India’s border states have enormous tourism potential that is largely untapped due to remoteness and difficulty of access. Under the Vibrant Villages Programme, the government has made unprecedented efforts to build border infrastructure and has announced plans to open villages along the northern border to tourists. However, encouraging tourism in these areas necessitates the promotion of civilian presence hubs, the construction of necessary infrastructure, and the conduct of feasibility studies to ensure long-term development.

What exactly is the Vibrant Villages Programme?

  • Improve infrastructure in villages along India’s China border: The Vibrant Villages programme is a government initiative that aims to improve infrastructure and create jobs in villages along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
  • Overview: The programme will invest Rs 4,800 crore to upgrade 633 villages across five states: Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and the Union Territory of Ladakh. Residential and tourist centres will be built as part of the programme.
  • The program’s objectives are as follows: The programme aims to improve the living conditions of border residents as well as the security situation along the LAC with China.
  • Benefits to be Expected: The Vibrant Villages programme aims to match what is available in settlements across the LAC by providing better facilities such as schools, 24 hour electricity, and more 4G telecommunication towers in border areas.
  • Strategy to improve security: The Vibrant Villages programme is part of the Indian government’s larger strategy to improve security along its border with China. Investment in developing infrastructure and creating job opportunities is a critical step towards improving people’s living conditions in border areas and improving security along the LAC with China.
  • The programme is modelled after Chinese actions on the Pacific Rim: The programme is modelled after the Chinese military and civilian authorities’ efforts to build permanent population settlements along the LAC on their side of the border.

Tourism potential in Border areas


  • Regular motorcycle expeditions for civilians should be organised in collaboration with India’s major motorcycle manufacturers. Small experienced teams working in collaboration with the armed forces and the Indian Mountaineering Federation could explore areas such as the Saser Kangri massif for mountaineering expeditions.

Areas around Pangong Lake:

  • Photographers and birdwatchers will enjoy the area around Pangong Lake and Chushul. Wetlands and a thriving population of the Kiang, a wild ass, can be found in the Changthang wildlife sanctuary.
  • Both Hindus and Buddhists revere Lhari Peak.
  • Several hot springs in the Demchok area are popular for naturopathy treatments.
  • Tsaga, Koyul, and Hanle, which are nearby villages, can also be developed.
  • Tourism in the Tso Moriri lake area can be promoted, with a particular emphasis on home stays.

Mana Pass and Niti Valley in Uttarakhand:

  • It is one of the highest vehicle-accessible passes in the world.
  • Mana is rich in mythology, believed to be the gateway to heaven, and is located near popular destinations such as Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers, as well as the revered Badrinath shrine.
  • Tourists can go sailing on the Deo Tal Lake near Mana, and skiers can take advantage of the nearby slopes. Mountaineering expeditions are also possible on Mount Kamet and other peaks in the Nilang-Jadang valley.

Tourism Potential in Sikkim:

  • The region around Doka La in Sikkim is ideal for tourism.
  • Nearby attractions include Pedong, Nathang Valley, Zuluk, Kupup, Baba Harbhajan Mandir, and the Yak Gold Course, the world’s highest golf course.
  • Conducted tours, such as trekking expeditions up to Batang La, could be a good start.

Bum La Pass in Arunachal Pradesh

  • In the eastern sector, the Bum La Pass in Arunachal Pradesh is already a well-established tourism hub.
  • More tourists could be drawn all the way up to Zero Point, the location of border personnel meetings with China.
  • The memorial honouring Subedar (Baba) Joginder Singh, who was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra for outstanding bravery in the battle near Tongpen La during the India-China war in 1962, should be publicised.
  • The Pangateng and Sangetsar lakes are beautiful nearby.
  • Expeditions similar to NIMAS’s Winter Bailey Trekking Expedition could bring international tourists to Tawang and the state’s interiors.

What steps should be taken to encourage commercial activity in India’s outlying border areas?

  • Military to Tourism Transition in Remote Areas:
    • Promote Commercial ActivityTourism should be prioritised.
    • Create Tourism Infrastructure
  • Creating Border Areas for Long-Term Growth:
    • Create Civilian Hubs and Home StaysAllocate funds for the Border Area Development Programme.
    • Install Critical Infrastructure and Long-Term Energy Sources

@the end

While developing border areas is critical for security, conducting feasibility studies before implementing tourism projects is also critical for ensuring sustainability. Unplanned construction violates norms and harms the Himalayan belt, so it is critical to promote sustainable infrastructure that benefits the local economy.

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