China constructing bridge on its side of Pangong lake in Ladakh, satellite image shows: Sources
New Delhi, Jan 3: A new satellite image showing China building a bridge on its side of the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh emerged on Monday amid the prolonged Sino-India military standoff in the border area. People familiar with the development said the satellite imagery is of an area on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control(LAC) near the Galwan valley region.
The armies of India and China had created a buffer zone in Galwan valley following their deadly clashes on June 15, 2020. On January 1, Indian and Chinese troops exchanged sweets and greetings at 10 border posts along the LAC including in eastern Ladakh to mark the New Year. The sources said the bridge is at a distance of around 40 km from the alignment of the LAC in the region and that India has also been developing infrastructure in the region at a rapid pace.
Geo-intelligence expert Damien Symon posted a satellite image on Twitter suggesting that the new bridge was being constructed by China to link the North and South banks of Pangong lake. Military experts said the aim of constructing the bridge in the Khurnak area could be to ensure that the Chinese People's Liberation Army(PLA) is able to quickly mobilise its troops in the region.
The Indian military sources said India has been developing infrastructure in all key areas along the LAC and that India is aware of Chinese activities in the region. Last week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the Chisumle-Demchok road at Umling La Pass at over 19,000 feet in Ladakh that is considered as a key stretch for military purpose.
China has been focusing on strengthening its military infrastructure after Indian troops took control of several strategic peaks on the southern bank of Pangong lake in August 2020 after the Chinese PLA attempted to intimidate them in the area.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the armies of India and China erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area. Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area. Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.
The 13th round of Corps Commander-level military talks in October ended in a stalemate with the Indian Army saying that the "constructive suggestions" made by it were not agreeable to the Chinese side. The defence ministry last Friday said it held several rounds of military talks with the Chinese side to deescalate the situation in eastern Ladakh without compromising on its stand of "complete disengagement and immediate restoration of status quo ante". India has been insisting on returning to the status quo that existed before the face-off erupted. PTI