NEW DELHI: Even as New Delhi and Beijing continue to hold talks over the military de-escalation in Pangong Tso and Depsang areas of eastern Ladakh, China is bolstering its military infrastructure in the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and has begun construction of massive habitat for a large troop formation, apart from road constructions and deployment of strategic missiles, sources said.
“The Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) is building a brigade-size garrison at Gyantse in Tibet which appears to be meant for the ground forces. The construction was started after January 2020 and is likely to be completed by the spring of 2021,” said a source.
The new garrison includes six battalion area headquarters and an administration area, and more than 600 vehicle and equipment sheds, the source added. Also, an artillery battalion is located around 14 km from Gyantse.
An Army officer, on condition of anonymity, said: “The new brigade is located at a point from where it will be able to move to the western part of the Arunachal Pradesh and also to Sikkim.” Tawang, which lies in the western part of Arunachal Pradesh, has been a major point of contention between India and China.
The officer added: “The images of June and July confirm that China is building connecting roads to the border areas at multiple points in the eastern sector.” Another source pointed out the deployment of missiles. “For the first time, a target acquisition radar associated with the S-300 has been installed at Malan Airfield under the Western Theatre Command (WTC),” the source said.
The Chinese have deployed the missiles as air defence cover as their troops are out in open, said another senior army officer on the condition of anonymity. “Their plans are going ahead keeping both offensive and defensive military tactics in mind.”
The tensions along the 3,488 km-long LAC have been high since the first week of May when the Indian troops and the Chinese PLA clashed at Finger 4 in the easter Ladakh. There has been precautionary deployment by India all along the LAC.
In the last few months, there have been multiple military and diplomatic level talks where both sides have agreed to resolve the issues peacefully, but the Chinese have not disengaged their troops from various locations even after the agreements in the meetings, said a source.
‘Solution must be predicated on honouring all agreements’
A solution to the border row with China must be predicated on honouring all agreements and understandings without attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, in a clear assertion of India’s position on the issue.
Several rounds of talks, pullback not achieved
The two countries have been engaged in a stand-off since April over tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh. Several rounds of talks — military and diplomatic — have followed the June 15 violent stand-off but full de-escalation is yet to be achieved.