SRINAGAR: For the first time since the standoff between India and China started in Ladakh, pictures have emerged showing concrete Chinese structures on the LAC near the Pangong Tso area.
More worryingly the concrete structures show a radar tower built close to an area known as finger four. The image was also obtained by the Guardian of Pangong Tso, a freshwater lake on the border where a similar but non-deadly clash occurred between Indian and Chinese forces on 5 May.
The new Chinese military construction in the area of dispute will hardly please New Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting Ladakh forward areas on Friday. Modi commended the soldiers guarding the LAC for their bravery.
Many see Modi’s visit and comments in Ladakh as a sign that though New Delhi would like to resolve tensions with Beijing through diplomacy, but at the same time India was not afraid of using the military option if needed.
Modi has already got the diplomatic backing of the United States as well as Japan. This comes days after India banned Chinese apps in India followed by a ban on Chinese power equipment.
On Friday the Kashmir Monitor had reported how the people in Ladakh were becoming more concerned at the Chinese presence in the area.
“It seems the situation is very serious. Chinese are talking of de-escalation, but they are fortifying their positions on the ground,” Chering Dorjay, former Chief Executive Councilor (CEC) of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh had told The Kashmir Monitor.
Dorjay said the Chinese army has put up a huge board between Finger Four and Five on the Indian Territory at Pangong Tso. . “They have inscribed `Tungu’ in Chinese. Tungu in the Chinese language means China. Plus they have also drawn China map on the board,” he said.
India shares a 3,488-km border with China while Ladakhshares 646 Km of the LAC with the neighboring country. Jammu and Kashmir is the only place in the country which shares its borders with both Pakistan and China. Leh-based 14 corps of the army is responsible for the security of LAC, Line of Control (LoC), and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) at Siachen.
“The area between Finger Four and Eight is our winter pasture. Pangong Tso Lake freezes in winter. The ice is so thick that one can drive a truck over it. So our shepherds use this lake as a shortcut to reach the pasture. They return in spring before the ice starts melting. Now that pasture is gone,” said Dorjay.
Even common Ladakhis have posted videos on the social media flagging Chinese incursions. “They have entered into Ladakh. They might reach our village if concrete steps are not taken. Please do sometimes. Please do not abandon Ladakh. We are Indians. Give us guns. Even double-barrel guns will suffice. We will kill the Chinese if they enter,” said Angdo Sonam a Ladakh resident on Facebook.