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Current Affairs

Bridge on Pangong Tso

Date: 06 January 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

China has been constructing a bridge on the eastern side of Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Union Territory of Ladakh.

 

Background

The building of the bridge is an effort by China to deploy troops faster between the north and south banks of the lake.

 

Details

  • The construction of bridge is taking place more than 20 km east of Finger 8 on the lake’s north bank. India says that Finger 8 denotes LAC.

  • The bridge lies just east of Khurnak Fort in Rutog County. There is a frontier defence company at Khurnak Fort, and a water squadron at Banmozhang.

  

Infrastructure development

  • India and China have been on a construction spree since the stand-off that took place two years ago near the LAC.

  • This includes several new roads, bridges, landing strips along the entire frontier. The Border Roads Organization completed more than 100 projects in border areas.

 

Friction points

  • India claims LAC at Finger 8 and China claiming it at Finger 4. Fingers are mountain cliffs surrounding the lake shore.

  • India and China had deployed massive forces along the banks of the lake, including battle-tanks. A deal ensured that both sides withdrew.

  • India outsmarted China to occupy heights of the Kailash ranges including Magar Hill, Gurung Hill, Rezang La, and Rechin La.

 

Strategic importance

  • The heights of Kailash Ranges allow India to monitor the Spanggur Gap, which could be used to launch an offensive.

  • The strategic advantage gained by India by getting a view of the PLA garrison at Moldo forced the Chinese to negotiate a pullback.

 

Pangong Tso

  • Pangong Tso is an endorheic saline water lake located along LAC. It is boomerang shaped and is about 135 km long spanning between two countries.

  • The lake is divided into sub lakes, called Pangong Tso, Tso Nyak, Rum and Nyak Tso. India controls about 40% area, China around 50% and rest 10% is disputed.

  • The lake is an important breeding ground for a variety of birds including a number of migratory birds. The Indian side does not have aquatic life.