China Has Constructed A New Bridge Across Pangong Lake, India Says It Is ‘Occupied Area’


Satellite imagery Maxar Technologies 2022

NEW DELHI : Once completed, the new Chinese bridge being built across the Pangong Lake will give Beijing a substantial military advantage in an area of Eastern Ladakh that has been a flashpoint between India and China. The bridge is being erected about 500 metres apart between the two sides of Pangong Lake, south of a People's Liberation Army outpost on the north bank. According to analysts who examined the newest high-resolution satellite photos of the site, the new bridge is being built parallel to the original bridge, which is narrower and was completed in April.

Reacting to this development, India stated on Thursday that the area where China is building a second bridge across the strategically important Pangong Lake is considered a "occupied area," and that tensions resulting from Chinese deployments since April 2020 "cannot be reconciled with a normal relationship."


Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, made the statements during a weekly news briefing on the construction of a second bridge connecting the north and south banks of Pangong Lake. “We have seen media reports on a new bridge or expansion of old ones. This is a military issue so I can’t discuss implications. But India has always believed this area is occupied territory. We continue to monitor such developments.” he said. 

While the new bridge is reported as being built in territory controlled by China since 1958, it is evident that India views its development to be completely illegal. The Indian side has informed the Chinese side, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi, of its expectations on the military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and will continue to pursue a settlement through talks. Arindam Bagchi, observed. 

When news of the first bridge connecting the two banks of Pangong Lake first broke in January, India's external affairs ministry has also claimed that the structure was built in areas that had been under Chinese illegal occupation for 60 years.

As mentioned before, the bridge over Pangong Lake will give the Chinese Military a substantial advantage as it will bring down the time for PLA to move their troops, according to experts.  A PLA garrison is stationed at Kurnak fort on the north bank and Moldo on the south bank. The distance between the two is about 200 kilometres, and the bridge was built between the two banks' closest points, which are about 500 metres apart. Officials claim that this will reduce travel time between the two areas from about 12 hours to three hours and forty minutes. Officials previously reported that the bridge is approximately 25 kilometres ahead of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It will cut the overall trip by 140-150 kilometres.  

Previously, the PLA had to use a circle to traverse Rudok County, but now the bridge will give a direct axis, with the largest benefit being that inter-sector time would be reduced.

Despite the disengagement of soldiers at Galwan Valley, India and China have been locked in a border dispute since April-May 2020 with both still maintaining around 60,000 troops and advanced weaponry deployed in the area. Military leaders from India and China met for the 14th time last week in Chushul-Moldo, Eastern Ladakh.

The Mizos

The Mizos is a one-man team news blog, that brings you news and stories from Mizoram, Northeast India and the rest of the World.

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