News and Views on Tibet

China making inroads after construction of ‘strategic’ bridge over Pangong Tso

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Satellite images show increasing construction near the Line of Actual Control (Photo/India Today)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, May 5: The construction of a bridge, termed highly ‘strategic’ by analysts, was completed on the Pangong lake’s border territory in Khurnak, which extends across Ladakh and Tibet, according to The Print on Monday.

“Since Pangong Tso is a sensitive region, these developments followed as a result of clashes between the two nations in 2020, especially in the Ladakh region,” Tibet Policy Institute researcher Dr. Tsewang Dorji told Phayul, adding that these developments directly threaten India’s security. “There have been 15 peace talks between the heads of military troops for de-escalation measures, but China has proved again that it does not adhere to any diplomatic agreement, and will continue its expansionist policy into the Himalayas,” he further remarked.

The bridge was completed in the first week of April, which will now cut down a 180-km loop from Khurnak to the banks of Rutog County in Tibet, where one of the important garrisons of the People’s Liberation Army is situated. The latest satellite images showed new road construction work completed by the PLA. Sources told the news agency that the road construction project is to counter any future moves made by the Indian military as it did in August 2020.

Satellite expert Damier Symon, popularly known by his Twitter handle @detresfa_ first put out the picture and noted how the construction had begun. “Further developments to the new Chinese bridge at #PangongTso, recent imagery shows roadworks have begun to join the bridge most likely to Rutog, giving #China‘s PLA troops in the area quicker connectivity through the terrain,” he tweeted. The new road will add to a new route which will quicken deployment of soldiers and military infrastructure in the region.

In January, a source cited by The Print said that the construction must be a response to the Indian army operations in 2020, “They have probably learnt the lesson and since they are quick in taking remedial measures, multiple steps have been initiated to ensure that their movement through that area is quicker and have the ability to scale up presence in a big way.” The Pangong Tso, a landlocked lake which is partly in Ladakh and partly in Tibet, has seen rising tension between India and China since May 2020.

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