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.
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.
— d-atis☠️ (@detresfa_) July 21, 2020
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.
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.