China has reportedly pulled back its troops from depth areas in Ladakh and has positioned them in rear positions as the standoff between India and China continues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). According to reports, the country has withdrawn around 10,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from the Ladakh theatre. Citing officials, reports claim that the frontline deployments of the PLA have not changed.
Extreme weather conditions may be the reason behind PLA troops reduction
Reports suggest extreme weather conditions in the sector as the reason by the repositioning of troops by China. Both India and China have reportedly deployed total 100,000 troops and weaponry in their forward and depth areas. According to former Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General (retd), DS Hooda, “In winters, large-scale or even limited military operations are ruled out. That’s possibly the reason why the PLA has withdrawn troops from depth areas”.
Citing officials, reports say that the reduction in PLA troops in Ladakh theatre happened over the last week to 10 days and that the possibility of re-induction of troops by the PLA in the sector cannot be ruled out. It has been over eight months since the Ladakh standoff between India and China. Soldiers have been holding forward positions at friction points battling extreme weather conditions. Eight rounds of military talks have been held between the two countries so far.
CDS on a two-day tour to Ladakh
Chief of Defence (CDS) Staff General Bipin Rawat had reached Leh for a security review of the sensitive area on Monday. The same day Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria also visited the forward areas in the sector and interacted with troops deployed there. General Rawat is also expected to visit forward locations in Kashmir during his two-day tour. He is also expected to be briefed by the local military leadership on the prevailing security situation.
Satellite imagery shows infrastructure up-gradation by China
According to reports, satellite imagery has revealed that China is working on creating a major logistics hub at Xigatse in Tibet. Experts reportedly see this as part of China’s efforts to build up connectivity and infrastructure for operations along the LAC. The satellite imagery shows infrastructure upgrades south in Xigatse airport that link the facility to a mail terminal. A surface-to-air missile site, a suspected military support building, a new railway terminal and new railway line and a possible fuel dump are among the imagery captured by satellite. A new developed underground facility is also among the imagery.
The imagery was shared by an open-source intelligence analyst who goes by Twitter id @detresfa showing the infrastructure upgrades.
Infrastructure upgrades south of Xigaze Airport, #Tibet show the aerodrome being linked to a rail terminal, possibly developing it into a future logistics hub for #China #PLA, additionally spotted nearby is a new suspected underground facility that warrants further monitoring pic.twitter.com/AeiqbxumVV— d-atis☠️ (@detresfa_) January 11, 2021
Few days ago, on January 9, a Chinese soldier was apprehended by the Indian Army near Gulung hill in Chushul sector of eastern Ladakh. The PLA soldier had reportedly lost his way and entered the Indian territory.