- The bridge falls within Chinese territory connecting both banks of the lake.
- PLA to build a road from the bridge for faster deployment of soldiers and material.
- More than 50,000 troops from India and China have been deployed in eastern Ladakh.
New Delhi: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is building a bridge over the Pangong Tso on its territory in Khurnak, the narrowest part of the lake. Sources in the defence and security establishment said the bridge is being built with prefabricated structures to counter any August 2020 like operation of the Indian Army in future, which led to the capture of dominating heights in the southern banks of Pangong Tso.
The bridge, which is under construction, will cut down a 180 km loop from Khurnak to the south banks through Rudok, sources said. The 135-km long Pangong Tso, a landlocked lake that is partly in the Ladakh region and partly in Tibet, has seen tensions between India and China since May 2020. The PLA has also initiated the process to build a road to and from the bridge and will add to a new route for faster deployment of soldiers and material.
“We utilised a chink in their armour on the southern banks in August 2020. The Chinese were taken aback by the swift movement and build-up. “They have probably learnt the lesson and since they are quick in taking remedial measures, multiple steps have been initiated to ensure that their movement through that area is quicker and have the ability to scale up presence in a big way,” a source said explaining why the Chinese are building new roads and the bridge here.
India and Chinese troops had carried out disengagement from the southern banks in February last year. China has ramped up its infrastructure build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) even during the stand-off. This included the construction of new roads, surface to air missile sites, heliports, dwellings among others. India too has carried out multiple infrastructure build-ups along the LAC with the construction of new roads, tunnels, underground ammunition depots, and induction of new warfighting equipment.