• Saturday, June 15, 2024

ASIA

China building military facilities along India border to face ‘eventuality of hostilities’

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

CHINA has ramped up the construction of military facilities along its de facto border with India, which experts regard as Beijing’s preparations for an “eventuality of hostilities”.

Satellite imagery from the American firm Maxar has shown Chinese infrastructure including bunkers and tunnels being built into the hillside in Aksai Chin, a disputed territory controlled by China.

Reports have said China is firming up its military infrastructure in eastern Ladakh.

There are also images of airfields, helipads, missile bases, roads and bridges being constructed on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control which separates the country from India.

This comes as occasional skirmishes have flared between the border security forces of the Asian giants.

Relations between India and China have deteriorated after soldiers from two sides clashed in the Galwan Valley in the Himalayas in June 2020, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops.

The situation on the nearly 3,000-km frontier has been largely calm since the clashes, but the face-off continues in a few pockets with soldiers amassed on both sides of the frontier in the western Himalayas.

According to the Indian Army’s retired lieutenant general Rakesh Sharmahe, China has been building roads, oil pipelines, communications systems, housing for troops and storage for equipment along the border over the past three years.

“Such infrastructure indicates preparations for an eventuality of hostilities,” he told the Hindustan Times.

Last month, China released the 2023 edition of its standard map incorporating the disputed areas including its claims over the Aksai Chin region, the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas, Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea.

New Delhi has taken exception to the new map that claims India’s territory.

“We reject these claims as they have no basis. Such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question,” an Indian foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Beijing has previously renamed 11 villages in Arunachal Pradesh, a move India has repeatedly rebuffed.

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