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As the COVID-19 crisis engulfs India, China moves to strengthen its positions at friction points in Ladakh: Report

Far from reducing its presence in Ladakh as previously agreed, China has reinforced its positions with permanent accommodations and depots, a sign of hardening stance even as the talks between the two sides continue.

Amidst the worsening COVID-19 crisis in India, China is quietly hardening its stance in the depth areas of eastern Ladakh, India Today journalist Shiv Aroor reported.

According to the sources quoted by Aroor, far from reducing its presence in Ladakh as previously agreed, China has reinforced its positions with permanent accommodations and depots, a sign of hardening stance even as the talks between the two sides continue.

The images with the Indian military establishment and the ground intelligence have hinted that China is in no mood to vacate from its aggressive positions along the line of control in eastern Ladakh.

The grim details of China’s treachery were uncovered on a day when the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping expressed her commiserations to PM Modi over the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in India.

“The Chinese side stands ready to strengthen cooperation with the Indian side in fighting the pandemic and provide support and help in this regard. I believe that under the leadership of the Indian Government, the Indian people will surely prevail over the pandemic,” Xi Jinping said.

However, if the evidence on the ground is to be believed, the Chinese Army has strengthened its positions to support the friction areas if necessary.

The imagery shows that China is vigorously building permanent structures, accommodations and military buildings in a long arc through the Aksai Chin bulge, including depth areas from the friction points of the India-China standoff.

The areas include Xaidulla in the southwestern part of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, a strengthened Chinese radar site at Piue which is just across from Ladakh’s Chip Chap valley, and the military outpost at Kyrmmgo Traggar across the LAC from Hot Springs and Gogra Post.

Earlier, 10,000 permanent Chinese PLA troops were stationed at Kangxiwar and Rudok. India Today cites an intelligence report to assert that the posts have been reinforced with 10,000 additional temporary troops.

Besides, the map of the spring 2021 reinforcement has also buttressed the view that China has no intention of tamping down its aggressive posture across from the Depsang and Daulat Beg Oldie areas of northern Ladakh.

Additionally, even in the depth areas of Spanggur Tso, the south of the Pangong lake, China has increased its presence and erected up permanent accommodations. This is close to where India had gained a tactical advantage in the Kailash Range last August, which forced China into a stalemate.

As a part of the February pullback, Indian forces had to abandon some of their positions. However, it is given to understand that Indian armed forces still hold advantageous positions in other sectors at this time.

The recent evidence once again highlights China’s inherently treacherous behaviour. Though the Chinese troops moved beyond Finger 8 in the north Pangong sector, a large section of the forces continue to remain stationed in the rear areas, with elements of the 4th, 6th and 11th Motorised Divisions still present in those areas.

The report also states that no reinforcement or strengthening of Chinese positions have been witnessed on the frontlines in any of the sectors, as that would be considered as immediately belligerent.

It is worth noting that China’s aggressive reinforcement along the border comes weeks after its stout refusal to discuss any pullback from the Gogra Post and Hot Springs friction points during the last rounds of talks that were held on April 9.

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