China is building a bridge across Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh, triggering concerns in New Delhi about Beijing once again choosing not to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that divides the two countries.
A bridge being built by China across the Pangong lake in an area claimed by India is expected to be completed in a few months and will give the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) an edge in speedily moving troops between several locations.
The bridge is located south of a key PLA position on the north bank of Pangong lake. It is being built at a spot where the two banks of the lake are about 500 metres apart. Once completed, the bridge will cut the distance between Chinese troop positions on the north bank to a key PLA base at Rutog by around 150 km.
The government of India earlier said that it has been closely monitoring the activities. “This bridge is being constructed in areas that have been under illegal occupation by China for around 60 years now. As you are well aware, India has never accepted such illegal occupation," Arindam Bagchi, MEA spokesman said, earlier this month.
On January 6, the external affairs ministry accused China of building the bridge in an area it has illegally occupied for 60 years.
Sim Tack, Chief Military Analyst at Force Analysis said, “It is located right where India claims the Line of Actual Control to be. This location is likely in part chosen for its practicality as this is indeed the narrowest point of the lake, but in a political context it also signifies the encroachment of Chinese infrastructure development right up to India’s interpretation of the LAC."
Damien Symon, a GEOINT researcher at The Intel Lab, tweeted: ”A fresh track is observed fusing the bridge to a road network near the Khurnak Fort (North Bank of Pangong), which further links it to a well-formed motorable network through the region northwards.”
However, on its part, India too has increased the budget for completing border infrastructure. “New Delhi has built more roads and bridges in the region than ever before,” the foreign ministry stated.