Home Defence Satellite images reveal continued Chinese military build-up in Tibet and Aksai Chin...

Satellite images reveal continued Chinese military build-up in Tibet and Aksai Chin areas

According to an assessment, Chinese troops appear to be getting ready for long & harsh winters, making the Indian Army cautious about the disengagement process.

Snehesh Alex Philip
On 21 July, Twitter user @detresfa posted this satellite image, claiming it to be from Shiquanhe in Tibet Autonomous Region where PLA build-up is seen | Photo: Twitter

New Delhi: Indian satellite images as well as those procured from friendly countries have shown a large concentration of troops in the Tibet Autonomous Region and the use of possible tunnels to amass equipment, ThePrint has learnt.

Sources in the defence and security establishment said the additional build-up of troops and equipment in rear locations, especially with “substantial quantum” of troops in the Aksai Chin area, is what is making the Indian Army cautious about the disengagement process.

According to an assessment, Chinese troops appear to be getting ready for long and harsh winters.

The sources said this is the reason why some defence planners think China is dragging its feet over the talks. As reported by ThePrint earlier, there is a fear that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is intentionally delaying the disengagement process to sustain it till winters and then open a new front, possibly in the Northast.


Also read: Some deception, some posturing — the message from the Chinese military build-up in Ladakh


Helipads have come up, fresh construction going on

A Twitter handle @detresfa had, on 21 July, posted satellite images from Shiquanhe in Tibet showing PLA build-up, “suspected to be part of the supporting role of the ongoing” tensions at the LAC in Ladakh.

Sources confirmed that there was indeed a Chinese build-up, which is believed to be at least a brigade’s strength (about 5,000 troops and equipment). They added that helipads have also come up in the area, and fresh construction is going on.

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The sources said while a certain level of disengagement has been done at face-off sites, the PLA is strengthening its positions in rear locations.

This, they say, is an indication that China is preparing for a possible winter stay, and that the PLA could return to areas it has retreated from.

The sources said while PLA quickly moved out of the Galwan Valley, it is felt that this was largely due to the increased flow in the Galwan river that made the terrain tough to maintain troops, as reported by ThePrint earlier.

Such was the Chinese preparation that their troops came into the Galwan Valley with even boots meant for water.

Asked about future possibilities, a source said a lot of planning is being done keeping in mind the best-case, worst-case and not-so-bad scenarios.

The Indian Army is also preparing for the winters in full swing. It has been on a massive drive to ensure adequate supply of the right gear and adequate ration for the over 30,000 additional troops deployed at multiple places along the LAC.


Also read: The story of what really happened when Chinese troops ‘withdrew’ from Galwan Post 58 years back


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Mr.Victor Gao a top person of the Chinese establishment has made China’s position clear in two articles that were published in The Wire on 23rd and 24th of July. First he explains the Chinese actions in the following words:
    “Pangong lake, at the other end of the road, is 134 kms long and G219 skirts its eastern shore just as the road to DBO skirts its western edge. It therefore provides a swift route for moving large numbers of troops, artillery and armour from deep inside Tibet to places from which they can cut off the road to DBO within hours. Occupying the heights above finger 4, can give the PLA the capacity to interdict any Indian counter-attack on Chinese landing craft in the lake. A similar dominating position in the heights above the Galwan valley can give the PLA a second choke point from which to target the road from Ladakh to DBO. ”
    At another place he mentions that this was a prelude to an attack but China has so far temporarily refrained to give India time to reflect and change course .Then in the second part of his article he asserts that in order to avoid war India must
    (a) Dissociate itself from QUAD
    (b) Recognize Gilgit as a part of Pakistan
    (c) Remove all restrictions from Chinese apps and trade
    (d) Join BRI which last would by itself achieve the above objectives without political turmoil.
    This article coming from a person who was an interpreter to an erstwhile Chinese Prime Minister is clearly an ultimatum to India. Ignoring this article is just like ignoring and downplaying the intrusions in the Galwan valley.It will not change the situation on the ground .It is essential the Government be more transparent about the situation so that the public is not caught unawares if it takes a turn for the worse.

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