China is building a “larger” second bridge in an area controlled by China around the strategically important Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh, and it could help the Chinese military quickly mobilize its forces in the region, according to satellite images and people familiar with the development on Wednesday.
The bridge is being built amid the ongoing standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies at various points of friction in eastern Ladakh over more than two years.
There has been no official response or comment from the Indian Defense Institute on the new building.
China has focused on bolstering its military infrastructure after Indian forces captured several strategic peaks on the southern shore of Pangong Lake in August 2020 after the Chinese PLA attempted to intimidate them in the area.
India has also built bridges, roads and tunnels in its border regions as part of the overall effort to improve military preparedness.
It is learned that China has recently completed construction of the first bridge in the area.
The above people said that the new bridge is being built in an area more than 20 km away from the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Damien Symon, a geospatial intelligence researcher who tracks Chinese activity along the LAC, posted satellite images of the new building on Twitter.
Mr. Symon, who uses the handle @detresfa_, said a “bigger bridge” is being developed parallel to the first, adding that the likely purpose of the construction is to allow “larger/heavier movements” (from the military) about the lake to support.
The satellite image posted by Mr. Symon noted that the bridge is being built from both sides at the same time for “heavier and larger movements across the lake”.
The bridge is likely to significantly reduce the distance from the depths of Rudok to the area around the Line of Actual Control or LAC in Pangong Tso.
The clash in eastern Ladakh began on May 4-5 in 2020. India pushed for the restoration of the status quo ante prior to the standoff.
India and China have so far held 15 rounds of military talks to resolve the dispute in eastern Ladakh. As a result of the talks, the two sides finalized the withdrawal process on the north and south shores of Pangong Lake and in the Gogra area last year.
India has consistently maintained that peace and tranquility along the LAC were key to the overall development of bilateral ties.
Each side currently has approximately 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control in the sensitive sector.
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