(TibetanReview.net, Sep20’21) – China has built 10 new airbases along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in occupied Tibet amid suspicions that it is using the time afforded by ongoing talks to buttress their positions in ‘occupied’ Ladakh zones, reported the telegraphindia.com Sep 20, citing sources in the Indian security establishment.
The report said China appeared to have built at least 10 new airbases along the LAC in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh besides ramping up infrastructure at its exiting airbases close to the Indian frontier.
“This is very serious considering the 16-month-old border standoff in eastern Ladakh,” it quoted a security official attached to India’s home ministry as saying.
He has said the Chinese army had earlier built additional military camps as well as watchtowers with CCTV cameras atop them inside India-claimed lines in Ladakh to monitor Indian troop deployment. “It’s apparent that the Chinese are bolstering their positions while talks are under way to resolve the border standoff.”
The report noted that the standoff was continuing in Hot Springs and the Depsang Plains while there had been “partial” disengagements at the Galwan Valley, Pangong Lake and Gogra, with both sides pulling back by an equal distance within India-claimed lines. This means India has ceded additional territory while the Chinese still remain within India-claimed lines, it cited military veterans as saying.
In particular, the report noted that on the strategically crucial Depsang Plains, the Chinese were entrenched 18km inside India-claimed lines.
Indian military veterans are said to suspect that China wants to establish a new status quo at the LAC, claiming the territory occupied since May last year as its own.
On its side, India has been building 73 roads of operational significance along the occupied Tibet frontier, but at a far slower pace compared with China’s rapid expansion of military infrastructure in the region, the report cited a defence ministry official as saying.