The banks of Pangong Tso were the most tense standoff point between the Indian and Chinese armies for nine months before
New Delhi: China is building a bridge to connect the north and south banks of the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh for the faster movement of its troops in the sector, the latest satellite images suggest.
The banks of Pangong Tso were the most tense standoff point between the Indian and Chinese armies for nine months before the two sides last year agreed to mutually withdraw their forces from there. The sector had seen hand-to-hand clashes between the troops from the two sides and had also seen the first incident of firing at the Line of Actual Control in 45 years in 2020 as tensions had soared between the two countries.
Experts believe the Chinese are building the bridge within its territory to prevent India from taking any pre-emptive action as it had taken back in August 2020 by occupying the strategic heights on the south bank of Pangong Tso, which allowed Indian troops to dominate the Chushul-Moldo Chinese garrison. The Chinese were taken by surprise by the Indian move and they made several failed attempts to reoccupy these heights. India’s occupation of the strategic heights at the south bank is believed to have forced the Chinese to agree to disengage from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso. The bridge will now allow the Chinese troops multiple points to access the region.
There is no let-up in Chinese activity at the LAC. The Chinese forces are continuously upgrading their infrastructure at the LAC and placing a large number of troops and heavy weapons on the front line with India.
This comes as Chinese state-affiliated accounts on the social media are posting propaganda videos of PLA soldiers allegedly unfurling Chinese flags on the New Year in what is claimed to be the Galwan Valley. This is seen as part of China’s psychological warfare. Sources said that video is from within Chinese territory and not from the site of the June 15, 2020 Galwan Valley clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers. The latest provocation from China comes after it came up with its own names for over a dozen places in Arunachal Pradesh. Incidentally, Indian and Chinese PLA soldiers had exchanged greetings and sweets on New Year at several places at the LAC, including at Hot Springs and DBO, which was seen as a positive development.
This is second straight winter when India and China have deployed their troops at the front lines in the Ladakh sector.