A road bridge built by India between Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldi in eastern Ladakh (representational image) | Photo: ANI
A road bridge built by India between Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh | Representational Image | ANI
Text Size:

New Delhi: As the stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh continues, India is busy finishing the bridge over the Galwan ‘nallah’ that the Chinese had objected to, ThePrint has learnt.

Government sources said work on the concrete bridge, which is set to replace an existing wooden bridge, is going on, and India has made it clear to the Chinese that it will carry on with border infrastructure development.

The Print had earlier reported that China’s main concern in the Galwan Valley was this bridge.

“The work on the bridge, which is about 7 to 7.5 kilometres from the LAC, had started much earlier. However, around 10 May, the Chinese came to know of the construction and objected to it. However, the work on the bridge continues. The ongoing issues have only made us work faster on this bridge,” a senior official in the security and defence establishment said on the condition of anonymity.

The bridge is part of a network of feeder roads that India is building connecting the strategically important Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi road, inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh last year.

“The Chinese have no objection to the Shyok-DBO road, and that road is about 9-10 km from the LAC. The objection was to this bridge that we were constructing. We have made it clear that the construction is happening well within Indian territory and it will go on,” said the official.

Sources stressed that while there is troop build-up on both sides of the LAC, the focus is on resolving the issue through talks.


Also read: LAC standoff: India looks at ‘early resolution’, while China says agreement reached


China doubtful of India’s moves in Galwan Valley

Government sources said one of the reasons why China objected to the bridge could be that it is doubtful of India’s intent, after it bifurcated the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, one of which is Ladakh, and subsequently started raising its voice about Aksai Chin.

Sources said these suspicions were despite External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Beijing last August to reassure China that India was not raising any additional territorial claim on contested areas in the region, as reported by Hindustan Times on 3 June.

China not only supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue in last year’s closed-door informal session of the UN Security Council, but also raked up the status of Aksai Chin, as reported by The Economic Times: “Chinese Permanent Representative in the UN claimed that the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 challenged China’s sovereign interests and violated bilateral agreements on maintaining peace and stability in the border area.”

Sources said China has been told that infrastructure development activities on their own sides are the sole domain of individual countries, and that India had never objected to Chinese construction activities on their side.

They added that China is uncomfortable with the infrastructure development, which started about two decades ago but has gathered steam in recent years.

“China feels that the tactical advantage it has at the LAC with regard to swift deployment and movement will be eroded,” a source said.


Also read: China’s military adventurism is meant to distract from origins of Covid: Tibetan President


The situation in Galwan

The government sources ruled out any presence of Chinese troops on the Indian side of the Galwan Valley. The LAC and the Chinese Claim Line are the same in this area.

“The Chinese at no place have crossed their claim line, which at places differs from our claim line. In Galwan, both claim lines are similar,” a source said.

The Indian and Chinese armies have been holding meetings at Patrol Point 14, at the mouth of the Galwan Valley. “This is the meeting point area in the Galwan for talks,” a source said, admitting that both sides have built up troops and equipment, after the first move by the Chinese. ThePrint was the first to report that Indian forces executed “mirror deployment” along the LAC.

Situation in Hot Spring area

Sources admitted that the Chinese have crossed the Indian claim line in the larger Hot Spring area by about 3 km, as reported by ThePrint.

The transgressions have taken place near Patrol Point 15 and Patrol Point 17, also known as the Gogra post.

A limited number of India and Chinese soldiers are facing off at these locations. However, they are backed by a larger number of troops and equipment behind them.

Small disengagement steps have been taken by both sides in Galwan and the Hot Spring area as part of confidence building measures, following the talks between 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen. Harinder Singh and his Chinese counterpart Saturday. However, this cannot be described as de-escalation.


Also read: PM Modi’s silence on LAC stand-off is benefiting China. India must change its script


Pangong Lake is the trouble spot

Government sources said talks on the Finger area of the Pangong Lake could take longer, as China has refused to budge from this area so far.

The Chinese have come down to ‘Finger 4’ of the northern bank of the lake to stop the Indian soldiers from patrolling until ‘Finger 8’, which is the Indian claim line.

Over the last few years, sources said that whenever Indians used to carry out their long range patrol from ‘Finger 2’, Chinese troops used to come down from their Srijap post and try and prevent Indians from moving beyond ‘Finger 5’.

However, just before the winter settled in last year, the Indians managed to reach ‘Finger 8’ by using an alternate track through the heights.

“This caught the Chinese by surprise and hence they have come down to ‘Finger 4’ (Chinese claim line) and also the heights there to prevent Indian patrols from going forward. The talks on this issue may take a little longer,” the government official cited at the beginning of this report said.

Movement of mechanised columns and artillery

Sources said while forward positioning of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is a concern, the movement of artillery and mechanised columns should not be seen as too alarming.

“Any kind of mobilisation will come with their own attachment and detachment. People who don’t understand this tend to be too alarmist,” the official quoted above said.

India too has deployed additional troop strength in Ladakh, including elements of artillery and other equipment.

“There are a number of support systems that are needed when you move a large number of soldiers. There would be vehicles to transport them, tents to make them stay and so on,” a source explained.

“Also, to stay that Chinese artillery guns have been deployed at LAC is being naïve, because these guns come with stand-off ranges. They can target Indian positions from well within their territory, just like Indians guns can do.”


Also read: India has a bigger worry than LAC. China now expanding military footprint in Indian Ocean


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

13 Comments Share Your Views

13 COMMENTS

  1. These are sensitive matters.We have an elected government at the centre.The government’s track record on security issues has been very good and we must trust the government.Negotiations are still underway.Once a conclusion is reached I am sure that the people will be told about it.Opposition leaders especially Rahul Gandhi and some of his party members are playing dirty politics.This is not good for the nation’s security.Let the things settle down and then ask questions in the right forum,not on social media.Come on Rahul, it’s time you show some maturity.

  2. INDIA cant even kill one chinese army man or dog of army men. They can only kill kashmiries and pakistani civilian at borders. SO China ladakh is not kashmir where India can implinent lock down and 370 article

  3. Some countries and internal sources are selfishly taking advantage of the COVID disabling effects to promote their ambitions and cover their failures which most citizens are failing to understand the big picture at micro level. Border problems have been persistent since decades then why has it not been resolved by many government? It is easy to sit within the comforts of our homes and make philosophical comments and criticism rather than look at the positive developments and appreciate the efforts of those involved. If we really care in the case of border conflicts to be resolved, then why few citizens especially the intellectual not joining the armed forces? Or voluntarily contributing to the development of the border areas ? To conclude the India 2020 is not India 1965 which China and Pak knows of the repurcussion in the event of war.

  4. These are highly sensitive matters concerning our national security. We ordinary citizens are not in a position and not expected to pass any comments on such sensitive issues. Leave it to our gallant military and our political establishment. Have full faith they will not compromise national integrity and security. Give them our whole hearted support.

  5. At Pangong Tso there is a clear natural border beyond finger 8 at the choke point of the lake, through which lac also passes. The Chinese have deliberately violated the border. We have to secure the border up to finger 8. The Chinese are creating unnecessary confusion in this area.

  6. China must stop aggressions on Indian territory this is not south China sea India will give suitable reply which china cannot digest and be remembered for history so don’t play with fire.

  7. Mr.B.Chellany an important thinktank of ruling govt. has explicitly stated that China has acquired 60sq.km area in Ladakh without firing a single shot.Even BBC has also telecast that China grabbed a sizeable chunk of Ladakh(60 sqkm). They are now intent on eating India’s Himalayan territory. Already they are sitting on 30000 square.km.in Arunachal side.and looks hellbent to grab the rest.
    Our 56″ is as mouni as graveword ‘ silence. A talkative and sermonising man that he is, this is his monumental foreign policy failure. Already he let down Indian economy to morass which is slipping since the day Demo in 2016 and culminating to Covid days of uncertainty and acute economic crisis.Cultural & national integrity is at grave risk.Communal politics has completely destroyed the fiber of the nation .
    His 7 year balance sheet is minus only. On the contrary our democratic ecosystem is falling due to suppression of press ,media & opposition party members .God save India !

  8. That border infra has been built and our armed forces are in position to challenge the Chinese intrusions itself is a very big improvement in India’s position.Having already built their roads and infra for rapid deployment of their forces now they cannot object to India doing the same.Thankfully Modi has planned for this and is squarely staring back at the Chinese.Our gallant forces are in great morale and at any mistep by the Chinese are ready to finish off as many Chinese one child soldiers to bring Xi to the ground.Great work Modiji

  9. well done by India. quick and modern infrastructure at border areas must be urgently carried out and still not to stop there. it has to be continuous process more than the great wall

  10. The moment open hostilities break out this bridge will be the first target of PLA,. They can decimate this poor bridge by air or by missiles in first half an hour of the conflict between China & India !!!!

  11. Thank for letting China know that “India ‘working faster’ on bridge in Galwan Valley”
    This patriotism is always appreciated. For godsake please be quiet on sensitive matter as we citizen doesn’t even know whats Galwan valley is. Army officials will handle the matter, citizen no need to ve expert on Border matters.
    Better if Print target Government and Modi on POK matter and ask them to get back as soon as possible

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here