State of India, in the Himalayas on the borders of Tibet and Myanmar; area 83,578 sq km/33,270 sq mi; population (2001 est) 1,091,100 (including over 80 ethnic groups). Formerly part of the state of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh became a state of India in 1987. The main towns include Bomdila and Ziro, while its capital is Itanagar.
Its position south of China is strategically important, and it has been subject to repeated incursions from China. In the 1950s Chinese troops crossed the McMahon Line, which had been agreed as the frontier by Tibet and the UK in 1914, but not accepted by the Chinese. In 1962 there were further Chinese incursions.
Physical Stretching from the foothills of the Himalayas to their peaks, the state is largely forested, ranging from Alpine to sub-tropical conditions. The highest peaks lie along the border with Tibet, where Kangto reaches a height of 7,090 m/23,261 ft.
Features Its attractions include Parasuram Kund, a lake visited by pilgrims; Brahmaputra (or Siang) River, which flows north–south in a deeply cut valley; Tawang Monastery; and Namdapha National Park. The Buddhist Tawang Monastery, built at 3,000 m/9,800 ft, is the largest in India and the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama (see Dalai Lama, 14th Incarnation). It contains priceless manuscripts and treasures.
Industries The state's main industries are timber and coal mining. Because of the state's remoteness and rugged terrain, economic development has been limited by a poor transport network. There are no railways and few metalled roads, though their number is gradually being increased with support from the central government.
Agriculture Rice, coffee, spices, fruit, and rubber make up much of the state's agriculture.
Inhabitants The population is made up of a diverse range of Indo-Mongoloid tribes such as the Monpas and Khampti, including India's largest proportion of Buddhists. 50 different dialects are spoken.