China speeds up construction on Indian border as talks stall – satellite images | World | News

India-China tensions: expert on potential military clashes

Tension between the two neighbors is rising again in the Himalayan region of Ladakh over a new Chinese-built bridge on the shores of Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh. Analysts say there is a possibility of continued skirmishes between the two nuclear states. An open-source intelligence analyst, Damien Symon, with the Twitter handle @detresfa_, recently shared satellite images of the area that showed a bridge-like structure connecting the two shores of Pangong Tso Lake.

Taking to Twitter, the analyst said: “Media reports that Pangong Tso alleges that a new bridge is under construction linking the northern and southern shores of the lake, improving road connectivity for Chinese troops in the area. Geo-intelligence of the area identifies the location and progression of the suspected structure.

Adding to the Tweet, the analyst adds an explanation on why construction is a contentious issue between Beijing and New Delhi.

He says: “In case you are still wondering why the new Pangong Tso Bridge is important, here is an explainer of its implications and potential benefits for Chinese troops in the region.

He added: “Most likely a lesson learned from India’s maneuvers at Rezang La in 2020.”

The tension could see further skirmishes between the two sides (Image: Getty)

Tweeter

The analyst tweets about the situation (Picture: Twitter)

Director of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden’s Uppsala University, Professor Ashok Swain, said it was a clear sign that China was not planning to withdraw from parts of the EU. India, which it took over in 2020.

Prof Swain pointed out that India lacks the military muscle to push China to agree to de-escalation.

He says Chinese President Xi Jinping has gained the upper hand in the escalating border dispute, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political calculation compels him to play down Chinese aggression, and in this context, disengagement is the best that India can hope to achieve.

This standoff in the freezing Himalayan region also comes amid allegations that Beijing is erecting settlements on the Indian side.

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Potential scenario surrounding the bridge

Potential scenario surrounding the bridge (Picture: Twitter / @detresfa_)

Map of the region

Map of the region (Image: Twitter / @Detresfa_)

India has criticized China for building a bridge in eastern Ladakh, which the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, or MEA, said was being erected in territories “which have been illegally occupied for around 60 years. years by the Chinese”.

In addition, China has also started to step up the construction of a series of buildings on the Bhutan border.

Beijing is said to have accelerated settlement construction along its disputed border with the small landlocked country, with more than 200 structures, including two-story buildings, under construction at six sites, according to analysis of satellite images.

The images and analysis provided to the Reuters news agency by the American data analysis company HawkEye 360, which uses satellites to collect information on activities on the ground, and are verified by two other experts, provide a detailed overview of China’s recent construction along its border with Bhutan. .

Construction-related activities in some of the locations along Bhutan’s western border have been ongoing since early 2020, with China initially constructing runways and clearing areas, based on material provided by imaging companies. satellite Capella Space and Planet Labs, said Chris Biggers, the mission. Director of Applications at HawkEye 360.

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bridge crossing

One of the bridges built by China (Photo: Bilal Hussain)

Reacting strongly to India’s allegation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing: “I would like to stress that China’s infrastructure construction on its territory is entirely under its sovereignty and aims to safeguard China’s territorial sovereignty and security, as well as peace and stability on the China-India border.”

The fundamental reason for the tension between the two countries, according to senior researcher and co-director China, East Asia at the Stimson Center, Yun Sun, is the dispute over territory and the two want to advance their positions and strengthen their claims.

Sun told VOA that the Chinese can also bring their own complaints about India’s buildups in the disputed region.

The result is a classic infrastructure race, similar to an arms race.

Border between China and India

The border is home to several Chinese construction projects (Photo: Bilal Hussain)

Experts say the purpose of this new bridge is to ensure faster military action if needed by reducing the distance to the other side by around 125 kilometres.

Earlier in 2020, China faced a setback when the Indian army took control of the Kailash Range on the southern shore of Pangong Tso Lake.

In January 2021, tensions peaked when troops from both sides clashed.

Indian and Chinese troops have suffered physical blows along the high-altitude border in North Sikkim, a small Indian state between India and Bhutan, which has been a hotbed of the Indo-Bhutan conflict, according to reports. Chinese for decades.

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