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Ladakh: Amid LAC standoff, Indian Army completes crucial Galwan river bridge that PLA has been trying to stall

"Right through the stand-off between the two countries, we continued building the bridge. Even as the skirmishes broke out between the Indian soldiers and the PLA on June 15, the completion of the bridge continued steadfastly," an official was quoted by the Hindustan Times.

The engineers of the Indian Army have completed the construction of a 60-metre bridge over the Galwan river in eastern Ladakh that would strengthen India’s control of the region by enabling the Indian troops to move across the river and provide a shield to the 255 KM strategic road from Darbuk to Daulat Beg Oldie, the final post south of the Karakoram Pass, the Hindustan Times reported.

The construction of the bridge was completed in the wake of belligerence displayed by the People Liberation Army in a bid to discourage the Indian Army from completing the project. The building of the bridge over the Galwan river seen as a strategic move by India which triggered the expansionist moves by the Chinese army that resulted in the standoff between the armies of the two countries before the PLA made an inflated claim over the entire Galwan Valley region.

The strategic location of the bridge

As per the HT report, the newly constructed four-span bridge is situated three kilometres east of the Shyok river-Galwan confluence, while the latest flashpoint-PP14 is located further 2 km east of the Bailey bridge. The Patrolling Point 14, the site of the bloody clashes between the two armies on June 15 is located close to the Y-junction which is the confluence of Galwan and Shyok rivers. An Indian army camp is set up at the said location, right next to the DSDBO road.

“Right through the stand-off between the two countries, we continued building the bridge. Even as the skirmishes broke out between the Indian soldiers and the PLA on June 15, the completion of the bridge continued steadfastly,” an official was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.

China’s nefarious aims to make sweeping claims of the entire Galwan Valley is an attempt to reduce India’s assertion to Shyok river and if it happens, the Chinese will have a birds-eye view of the DSDBO road and in the times of hostility, they can snap the road connectivity to Daulat Beg Oldie. This will provide them with another avenue to open road to Pakistan via Murgo, the last Indian village before DBO.

Built on concrete pillars, the Bailey bridge consolidates India’s hold in the region and provides its military with the advantage of rapid military mobilisation to protect Indian strategic interests. With Indian Army vehicles being able to cross the river through the newly-built bridge, the Indian military will be better poised to rein in the aggressive manoeuvres by the Chinese PLA.

Violent clashes between Indian and Chinese army at the Galwan Valley

At least 20 Indian soldiers, including a colonel, had attained martyrdom in the violent clashes with the Chinese troopers in Eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, the Indian Army said on Tuesday. The Army had initially claimed that 3 soldiers, including one Commanding Officer, were killed in the skirmishes but later in the evening it revised the figure to 20 saying 17 others had succumbed to their injuries due to the prolonged exposure to sub-zero temperatures.

The killing of the Indian soldiers marks the Indian Army’s worst losses since the Kargil War in 1999 and signifies the most intense military combat between India and China since 1967 when about 80 Indian soldiers and at least 300 Chinese PLA troops were killed in the course of the savage skirmishes that broke out near the Nathu La and Cho Lo passes, the strategic gateway to the crucial Chumbi valley.

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