China building roads, new troop settlements in occupied eastern Ladakh

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Skirmish at Galwan Valley of Ladakh in India between Indian and Chinese soldiers. (Photo courtesy: Organiser)

(TibetanReview.net, Dec16’21) – The Chinese army is building highways and roads as well as additional troop settlements in an area in eastern Ladakh claimed by India, reported telegraphindia.com Dec 14, citing sources in the Indian government and army.

The development, which is taking place in the backdrop of stalemate in talks between the two sides, is seen as indication that China may be planning to hold on to the territory it occupied last year and declare a new status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“Intelligence reports suggest that the Chinese army is ramping up its military positions by building additional highways and roads in eastern Ladakh. It has also built new habitats for its troops inside India-claimed lines,” the report quoted a security official attached to India’s home ministry as saying.

The armies from the two sides have been locked in border standoffs at multiple points in Ladakh since May last year. China has so far shown no intent of disengaging from occupied territory in Hot Springs and the Depsang Plains, while agreeing to “partial” disengagement on its own terms from the Galwan Valley, Pangong Lake and Gogra, the report noted.

It was in these three places that following talks, troops from the two sides retreated by an equal distance, with the Chinese still entrenched within India-claimed lines and the Indians stepping back within their own territory – triggering charges of “ceding further land” to China, the report said.

The report quoted an India army official as saying, “Disengagement from the remaining friction points is expected to be discussed at the next round of corps commander-level talks.”

The report said India’s original demand that the two sides return to status quo ante had not been mentioned during the 13 rounds of their military talks over the past few months.

Currently, each side has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive areas of eastern Ladakh, the report said.

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