World News

While the two sides wait for the 19th round of Corps Commander level negotiations to find a settlement to their conflict in the area, a number of infrastructure works have been started on both sides since the standoff, irreversibly changing the situation on the ground in eastern Ladakh.

On our side, work is already underway on a black-topped road that should be finished by 2025. Infrastructure, road networks, sophisticated landing sites, and other areas are receiving significant attention, an official source said while requesting anonymity. Further official confirmation of this was provided. The insider further said that work on the alternate axis to the crucial Darbuk-Skyok-Daulat Beg Oldie route through the Saser La is advanced.

According to the source, construction on the major bridge is now underway in China, although the minor bridge has already been finished. Large-scale construction work and building supplies have recently been seen on the north bank. Another official source, citing intelligence information, stated that in addition to the bridge, work on road links along the south side towards Shandong hamlet is also in way. East of the Khurnak fort is a Chinese air defence installation.

In addition, a 22 km long tunnel connecting the crucial G-216 highway in Tibet to the G-0177 motorway at Yuli is being built.

One-third of the 135 km long and boomerang-shaped Pangong lake is owned by India. ‘Fingers’ refers to the mountain projecting out into the glacial lake from the Chang Chenmo range. India has always claimed ownership of the lake up until Finger 4, but its claims extend all the way to Finger 8, which is where it believes the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to be. India has reaffirmed this position on numerous occasions. Early in May 2020, confrontations broke out on the north bank, where there are significantly greater disparities in perceptions of the LAC than on the south bank. Tensions also rose in the Kailash region in 2020, July and August ranges. While the Chinese Army maintains a base to the east of Finger 8, the Indian Army has a permanent post close to Finger 3.

Since 2020, more than 100,000 troops have been stationed on either side of the lake, but talks at the Corps Commander level have stalled over two outstanding issues at Depsang and Demchok. The Chinese side has been impeding Indian patrols at both areas, the source claimed, adding that the Chinese side has backed down a little bit in the negotiations.

As The Hindu has reported, China has erected tents on the Indian side of Charding nala in Demchok while there are conflicting claims in the Charding La area.

Over the past few years, the Border Roads Organisation’s budgetary allocation has grown significantly; for example, in 2023–2024, the BRO’s capital budget was $5,000 crore, which is 43% more than the $3,500 crore allotted in 2022–2023. A large portion of money was used to fund the India-China Border Roads (ICBR) project.

According to the first source, significant progress has been made on the 32 roads that were to be built as part of the second phase of the ICBR plan, which was approved in September 2020, months after the Galwan confrontation. The plan’s initial phase, which got under way in 2005, involved building 25 roads totaling 751.58 km for an estimated price of $3,482.52 crore. The first and second phases of the ICBR, which together total 3,488 km, call for the building of more than 1,400 km of key highways. It has been heard that a third phase is also under development and will mainly focus on Arunachal Pradesh.

The Sela, Nechipu, and Sela-Chhabrela tunnels, which will improve connection along the LAC in all weather conditions, are among the significant infrastructural projects in the eastern sector that the BRO is almost finished with. Actually, strengthening the border infrastructure has been a priority for the last three years. According to a report submitted in March, the Defence Secretary told the Parliamentary standing committee that is why allocations are always changing.


Related Posts