New Satellite Imagery Shows Chinese Troops, Equipment Present In Depth Areas Near Pangong Lake After Disengagement

New Satellite Imagery Shows Chinese Troops, Equipment Present In Depth Areas Near Pangong Lake After DisengagementChinese presence in Rutog County. (@detrasfa_/Twitter)
Snapshot
  • A large number of Chinese troops, equipment remain present in depth areas along the LAC following disengagement at Pangong Tso.

Although China has vacated the area it occupied on the north bank of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh in 2020 as part of the disengagement this year, its troops and equipment continue to remain deployed in depth areas.

Satellite imagery from 11 May shows that Chinese troops are present in Rutog County, located on the Xingiang-Tibet (G219) Highway close to the eastern end of the Pangong Lake. Rutog, which is linked to both Pangong and Spanggur Lakes (south of Pangong Tso, east of Kailash Range) by road, serves as a major base for the People’s Liberation Army along the Line of Actual Control in this sector.

The People’s Liberation Army can move these troops rapidly to forward positions or deploy them against India using its road network.

The satellite image, posted on Twitter by open-source intelligence handle @detrasfa_, shows multiple rows of prefabricated living structures, indicative of the presence of a significant number of Chinese troops at the base.

Chinese presence in Rutog County. (@detrasfa_/Twitter)
Chinese presence in Rutog County. (@detrasfa_/Twitter)

A large motor pool, consisting of different types of vehicles, including those used by support and offensive units, can be seen in the imagery.

Among other things, the satellite image also shows a large number of camouflaged positions, which could be hosting suppliers of weaponry.

Earlier, reports had revealed that China had built structures between Kangxiwar, located on the G219 highway just north of Aksai Chin, and Rutog.

At Kangxiwar and Rutog, the PLA has brought in 10,000 additional temporary troops to support the 10,000 permanent Chinese troops deployed at these locations, a report in India Today says, citing an intelligence estimate.

China has started rotating troops along the LAC, reports say. It has rotated two large field formations by inducting two fresh divisions in April.

All of these developments have taken place within view of the Indian military and intelligence agencies, reports say. The Indian Army continues to maintain its posture on the friction sites in eastern Ladakh and a large number of troops, which had been moved back as part of the disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, remain in depth areas on the Indian side to deter Chinese misadventures.

Work on new roads and bridges in Ladakh also continues despite China’s aggressive maneuvers over the last one year. The Border Roads Organisation appears to have improved its performance amid tensions along the LAC.

On 27 April, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane visited eastern Ladakh to review operational preparedness.

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