Construction of Chinese bridges in conflict border areas poses a military threat to India: experts

New Delhi — Chinese troops are nearing the completion of the Lake Pangonzo Bridge in the conflict area between India and China in eastern Ladakh. The Indian government said on February 4 that construction had taken place in an area illegally occupied by China.

Pangong Tso is a highland Himalayan crossing lake over 83 miles long. Half of the lake is under Chinese occupation, 40% is under Indian control, and more than 6 miles are claimed by both India and China.

Earlier this year, reports were released that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China built a bridge connecting the north and south shores of the lake, accelerating the movement of troops and equipment.

“This bridge has been built in an area that has been under the illegal occupation of China since 1962 … The Indian government has never accepted this illegal occupation,” the Indian government was asked at the bottom of the parliament. I mentioned in the written answer to the question. A house called Lok Sabha.

Aksai Chin, where the bridge is located, is an area managed by the CCP under the local authorities of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Tibet. The region has also been claimed by India as part of Ladakh in the eastern part of the Kashmir region and has been the subject of decades of conflict between the two countries.

This area, which was largely uninhabited at the time, is of military importance as it is the only route connecting the Tarim Basin and Tibet in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The CCP began construction of the road through Aksai Chin in 1956 and has occupied the area since 1962 after the first Indochina War.

Strategic value of the bridge

Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Conflict, told the Epoch Times that China has had many constructions in the Indian Territory since 1962, which were “totally ignored.” But he said the construction of the bridge was a concern as it would change the “military balance.”

Epoch Times Photo
The white line is the border. The blue line is where the PLA invaded in 1962, and the purple line is where China’s existence and infrastructure development are constantly being confirmed from 1998 to 1999. The narrowest point in the pink circle is the location of the new bridge. (Google map)

The The location of the bridge South of the PLA’s location on the north shore of the lake, the two embankments are built just 1,600 feet apart. This will reduce the distance between the PLA’s north bank location and another important Chinese base by 93 miles.

“When they bridge the north and south shores of Pangon, they can basically move tanks, armored vehicles, and logistics from one side to the other very quickly. It’s a specific maneuver. It gives sexual benefits. It changes the basic balance of forces. The local balance of forces there, “Mitra said.

He added that the construction of the bridge was a long-standing Chinese plan, and the People’s Liberation Army would have spent billions of dollars to bring all construction equipment to a location 14,000 feet across the Himalayan crossing lake.

Sri Kant Kondapari, a professor of Chinese studies at Javahar Larneroo University in New Delhi, said last year after the 10th military negotiations between India and China, both sides were on Lake Pangonzo.

“Now with the bridge, we could quickly deploy PLA troops, so it is considered a threat by India,” said Condapali.

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh Told the parliament of India In February 2021, as part of the military withdrawal, the two countries will return to their previous positions in a “gradual, coordinated and verifiable” manner. With the construction of the bridge, experts have sent a clear message that China does not want to leave.

The goal of the CCP is to build a large, permanent infrastructure in these high-altitude conflict-affected areas and to strengthen territorial disputes against India, Iyer-Mitra said. He said the idea was that by building a larger building, it would “become an irreparable territory of China.”

How will India respond?

Iyer-Mitra said India’s answer to China’s bridge construction could not be on the Indian side.

According to him, India has neglected to develop infrastructure along the border with China for the past 70 years and began to catch up only in 2019.

“When we start building railroads, bridges, etc., all ground forces are very panicked because it’s an imminent attack,” said Iyer-Mitra, India building military infrastructure on the ground. That is the Chinese who attack.

India’s response should focus on building aerial combat capabilities, giving it the ability to bomb China’s ground infrastructure as needed, he said. Meanwhile, India needs to continue to build its non-military infrastructure rapidly so that China’s “salami slice” strategy, the gradual increase in conflict areas, can be completely stopped, he said.

Pathikrit Payne, a New Delhi-based research consultant on geopolitical issues specializing in the management of defense technology, patrols India along its entire border with China, along with infrastructure upgrades and military deployments. He said that efforts should be made to strengthen.

“India needs to strengthen ITBP’s strengths [Indo-Tibetan Border Police] For more intensive patrols along the entire belt from Ladakh to Arnachar, “he said, last year the Government of India was armed with 12 additional battalions for more intensive patrols in India (SSB). He added that he strengthened his power. -Nepal-India-Bhutan border.

The SSB is one of India’s five Central Armed Police Forces, founded in 1963 following the aftermath of the 1962 India-Sino War.

“Similar enhancements to ITBP’s strength are in the pipeline, but they need to be promoted given the increasing likelihood of China’s uncompromising as part of Tibet’s Five-Piece Policy.

The Five Fingers of Tibet consider Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arnachar Pradesh to be part of the traditional land of Tibet, and it is the party’s responsibility to “liberate” them, CCP leaders. It is a foreign policy obligation attributed to Mao Zedong.

Venus Upadayaya


Venus Upadhayaya reports on various issues. Her area of ​​expertise is geopolitics in India and South Asia. She reports from the highly volatile Indian-Pakistan border and has contributed to India’s mainstream print media for almost a decade. Community media, sustainable development and leadership continue to be her key areas of interest.

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