The blacktopped road, designed to take on heavy transport vehicles, has come up right next to the LAC close to India’s Gogra post, in an area that satellite images suggest hold valuable natural resources like gold. Completed in barely three weeks, the road is just under four kilometres long and connects to a larger network that China has built along the LAC for the past few years.
The offer for help with the border situation came during a telephonic conversation between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US counterpart Mark T Esper on Friday. Those familiar with the details told ET that Singh while placing faith on existing bilateral mechanisms with China, also underscored the importance of being "resolute" and "patient". The US side, sources said, further expressed concern on the build up of troops in Ladakh.
Sources say that Chinese troops set camp after a shallow incursion in North Sikkim early this month, following a faceoff in which soldiers from both sides were injured. The altercation on May 9 weighed heavier on the Chinese side that suffered more injuries, following which the shallow incursion was made by PLA soldiers, two independent sources have confirmed.
China continues to maintain a hold over Ladakh's Galwan river area - a flashpoint for the 1962 war.
Reports about enhanced Chinese deployments in the region have been confirmed by recent satellizete images that show over 80 tents as well as heavy vehicles that have crossed the LAC, as was first reported by ET.
The incident has brought back memories from the Kargil war, when the Chinese side used the opportunity to build a five-kilometre-long track along the Pangong Tso lake to step up patrolling. The track was completed in record time after Indian troops were pulled out to counter the Pakistani incursions.
Indian Ocean becoming new focus of activity after South China Sea, need to augment security: Defence Secretary
“We are still not even looking at going beyond our own territorial waters. Our fishermen are not trained, they don’t have the craft. And, we don’t have the security umbrella for our fishermen to be going deeper and for tapping resources even in our EEZ,” the Defence Secretary said at a webinar organised by the Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.
There has been an impact on the Rafale production as well as on the training side. We expect the first batch to come by end of July, Bhadauria on Rafale delivery.
The Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi Road, which connects Leh to the strategic Karakoram pass, is strategically important. A threat to this road would be akin to the danger posted by the Pakistani occupation of heights in Kargil and Drass that threatened to cut off the vital supply line to Leh and the Siachen glacier.
The standoff at Ladakh, triggered by an excessive deployment of forces by the Chinese side, is being monitored closely by the top leadership including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who has been getting regular updates on the evolving situation.
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