China begins strengthening military infrastructure near Ladakh: Report

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Geospatial intelligence expert Chris Biggers has told by studying satellite imagery that China is intensifying its military activities along the border and possibly due to the abrogation of most provisions of Article 370 and making Ladakh a separate union territory.

Satellite pictures show that China is intensifying its military activities. (Photo: The India Cable)

New Delhi: China has started preparations to build infrastructure to strengthen its forces in Ladakh. This has been a major reason, due to which the military standoff with India continues since the beginning of August 2019.

A top global expert has given this information by studying satellite images of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Chris Biggers, director of mission applications at the geospatial intelligence firm Hawkeye 360, in an interview to Sushant Singh for The India Cable, said that the Chinese forces remained behind on the border despite the official announcement of a military withdrawal from the Galwan, Gogra and Pangong Lake areas. Has not moved.

Since May 2020, there has been a tense military standoff between India and China at several points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

India has claimed that China has deposited military forces and equipment near the border in violation of border agreements. India has also said that the Indian Army is being prevented by Chinese soldiers from going to its regular patrolling place.

During the skirmish on 15 June 2020 in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh, 20 Indian Army personnel were martyred. Later China also admitted that five of its military officers and soldiers had died in this incident. This was the most violent clash on the India-China border in nearly 45 years.

Since then, several diplomatic and military-level talks have taken place, due to which the forces on both sides have returned to their respective places. However, the standoff is still going on over a key area – Depsang ground. Here China has refused to back down.

Biggers, formerly an intelligence officer with the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said there had been a lot of evidence to suggest that China was preparing on the border.

He said that China has accelerated construction activities along the border for its army since August 2019. This is the same time when the Government of India divided the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories by abrogating most of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Biggers said that there is a possibility that China has intensified its aggression after this decision.

Since the abrogation of Article 370, China has been protesting that making Ladakh a separate union territory is “unacceptable” and a direct threat to its sovereignty.

Biggers said that it cannot be completely confirmed that China’s activities in eastern Ladakh are happening because of Article 370.

“However, the statements made by Chinese officials during the standoff have emphasized the security of China’s territorial sovereignty, which they claim is threatened by the abrogation of provisions of Article 370,” he said.

When asked about the retreat by the forces in the Kailash Range, Pangong Tso and Gogra, Biggers said that it has seen decent results.

He said that there is a distance of 100 km between the Indian and Chinese armies in these areas, but there is China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Sirjap, Khurnak Fort and Nyagju.

The expert said that construction in these areas also means that the Chinese army can quickly return to the place it had previously occupied.

He said satellite imagery showed workers built shelters to cover military equipment near Rutog’s two new garrisons and a prefab housing area where Chinese troops could stay for the entire winter.

Biggers said there has also been new activity in the northeast near the G219-S520 junction, which has seen road construction and construction of a new heliport in Duoma (northeast of Rutog).

(Click here to read this report in English.)

Categories: world, india, special

Tagged as: Article 370, Chinese Crossed LAC, Chris Biggers, geospatial intelligence, HawkEye 360, Line of Actual Control, National Interest, News, satellite imagery, The Wire Hindi

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