Dangerous move by China to assist in rapid deployment near Pangong Tso
In a worrying development for India, China started building a bridge across the Pangong Tso (lake) in the Eastern Ladakh side region for rapid deployment of its troops on both the banks of the lake. India – China stand-offs two years back started from the Pangong lake when the Chinese troops blocked an Indian patrol leading to an exchange of blows. On the bridge across the 135-km long strategically crucial Pangong lake, satellite footage and the bridge is coming up at the narrow part of the lake in a region called Khurnak in the Chinese area.
Nearly complete and connecting the northern and southern banks of the lake, it will reduce the distance by more than 150 km for the Chinese. The bridge was built with prefabricated structures with the objective of denying any advantage to India to dominate the southern and northern banks including the hilltops. Indian Army captured the heights after the Galwan clash and later retreated, says Defence experts.
The bridge will now reduce a 150 km loop from Khurnak to the south banks through Rudok, sources said. The bridge will reduce the route from Khurnak to Rudok to 40-50 km instead of 170 km they said. China has two-thirds of the 135 km Pangong Tso and India has the remaining part. The region has seen stand-offs in the past few years with Chinese aggressive patrolling on foot and by boats. Besides the bridge, the Chinese army has also built a road leading to the bridge for quicker deployment of troops and weapons, said Defence experts.
The region saw a prolonged face-off between the Indian and Chinese troops from September 2020 till February 2021. Following prolonged military and diplomatic level talks, the two sides disengaged from the southern banks of the Pangong Tso in February. Despite the stand-offs and talks, China ramped up its infrastructure development including roads, bridges, and helipads besides military garrisons near the Pangong lake and other flashpoints in the last few months. At present, more than 50,000 troops each from both sides are deployed in Eastern Ladakh.
Border tensions became serious with the Chinese troops transgressing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at several points culminating in a bloody clash in the Galwan valley in June 2020. Twenty Indian army personnel including the commanding officer died in the brawl. China is yet to officially announce the number of casualties it suffered. Indian security establishment says more than 40 Chinese soldiers were killed.
China two days back unfurled its flag on its side of the LAC in the Galwan valley. According to Indian officials (India has not yet announced its official position), the flag shown in a video released by some government mouthpieces of China is not in the demilitarized zone mutually agreed upon by both countries. The Opposition parties asked the Modi Government to explain the latest development regarding the unfurling of the flag. Incidentally, the unfurling of the flag and construction of the bridge surfaced two days after the two armies exchanged gifts and pleasantries on New Year’s day at some border meeting points all across the LAC.
 Indian Army says 20 soldiers killed in clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan area – Jun 16, 2020, The Hindu
 Indian soldiers killed over 40 Chinese troops during Galwan Valley clashes, captured PLA Colonel – Jun 21, 2020, Zee News
 China flag unfurled in Galwan not close to area of clash: Report – Jan 03, 2022, News Heads
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