NEW DELHI: The apprehensions of a long haul along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh have started manifesting on the ground as the Chinese forces have been creating permanent structures in areas wherever the Peoples’ Liberation Army troops are deployed. This comes after the Indian Air Force Chief confirmed that the Chinese are improving their air infrastructure.
Sources in the security establishment said that “the Chinese have been creating permanent structures, including those required for defences and habitation of the troops”. In view of the Chinese move, India has also been building permanent defences and structures for habitation but these will take some time, added the source.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had said in the first week of July that China had strengthened its infrastructure and improved the efficiency of its air operations. Since May 2020, the PLA has moved its soldiers along the LAC at several points, forcing the Indian army to counter the Chinese move with its own deployments. Although there has been disengagement of troops and equipment from the north and suth banks of Pangong Tso since then, the standoff continuing in areas like Hot Spring, Gogra Post and Depsang.
Defence Analyst Maj-Gen (retd) S B Asthana calls it a furtherance of the Chinese ‘incremental encroachment strategy’. “China, in the overall design under incremental encroachment strategy, is trying to enforce the infra development and its claim along its perception of LAC and in that context, is trying to settle down villages and make permanent structures so that over a period, its claim gets strengthened.”
“We should also improve our infrastructure along our perception of LAC and also make permanent structures and settle down villages so that the Chinese don’t succeed in their game plan,” he suggested as a counter move. India has ramped up road-building along the LAC and has also mobilised the troops with more than 50,000 personnel stationed in eastern Ladakh to thwart any move by the PLA men.