Even after both India and China agreed to disengage from key areas in Eastern Ladakh, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to build up infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC). According to The HK Post, this shows the real Chinese intent towards India despite engaging in several rounds of military-level discussions over disengagement from the points of tension that occurred in the standoff in Eastern Ladakh last year.
The build-up by the PLA has been observed since the start of the year and most recently through satellite imagery in August 2021.
Tensions have again flared up with the extension of the Tainwendian Highway leading up to the Depsang plains just 24 KM away from India’s highest airfield, Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), reported The HK Post.
Satellite images dated 17 August have revealed upgraded infrastructure near the Depsang Plains along with the western sector of the LAC between India and China.
Extension of the Tianwendian Highway that leads up to the Depsang Plains area under the Chinese army’s control in Aksai Chin has been going on, involving roadworks, widening and upgrades this year.
There are numerous images uploaded on Twitter using a handle since tensions between India and China began building in May 2020. The Highway connects the PLA’s post in Tianwendian in Aksai China to the Depsang plains.
The Tianwendian highway connects the PLA’s Tianwendian all-season post in Aksai Chin to the Depsang Plains. The post is situated barely 24 KM from DBO, reported The HK Post.
Amid the current standoff, Chinese troops have brought in their tanks and troops close to Indian positions.
India has been asserting that not just Pangong but all friction points across Eastern Ladakh including Depsang and areas around Demchok where Indian grazers have been obstructed should be dealt with.
Despite the talk of disengagement, the Chinese are clearly asserting their military control over Aksai Chin. In particular, the focus on Depsang Plains is of concern because it is very close to India’s DBO and Karakoram Pass.