News Brief

China Digs In: Satellite Images Reveal Construction Of Underground Bunkers And Armoured Vehicle Shelters At Pangong Lake

Bhuvan Krishna

Jul 07, 2024, 10:44 AM | Updated 10:43 AM IST

China's under-construction bridge on the north bank of the Pangong Lake. (@Kyangs_Thang/Twitter)
China's under-construction bridge on the north bank of the Pangong Lake. (@Kyangs_Thang/Twitter)

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) base located at Sirjap, near the mountains on the northern shore of Pangong Lake, is now functioning as the headquarters for the country's troops in the region.

According to satellite images from BlackSky, China has been seen fortifying its position around Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.

Located approximately 120 km southeast of the Galwan Valley, this base reflects China's strategic emphasis on tunnelling for military defence.

The PLA has constructed underground bunkers for storing weapons and fuel and created hardened shelters for armoured vehicles. These facilities and several large buildings for headquarters provide protected storage for armoured vehicles to safeguard them from air strikes.

These are reinforced by large berms and connected by an extensive network of roads and trenches, which are not visible on public mapping applications.

In response, India has also been enhancing its border infrastructure, focusing on roads, bridges, tunnels, airfields, and helipads to support military mobility and logistics since the 2020 standoff.

Recent satellite images also indicate increased Chinese military activity at the Shigatse air base in Tibet and the disputed Doklam tri-junction. The Shigatse base, located about 300 km from the Indian Air Force’s Hasimara base in West Bengal, now hosts advanced Chengdu J-20 stealth combat jets alongside Chengdu J-10 multi-role combat jets. Experts believe the deployment of J-20s aims to counter India’s Rafale jets.

These developments come as India and China continue their efforts to resolve border issues, emphasising the strategic importance of the LAC and the ongoing infrastructure developments on both sides.

Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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