NEW DELHI: China’s rapid infrastructure development in Tawang sector now allows it to swiftly deploy additional troops there.
Based on satellite imagery analysis of key areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the region, the study comes after the physical clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Yangtse left several soldiers on both sides injured on December 9.
“While India maintains control of the commanding position on the Yangtse plateau’s high ground, China has compensated for this disadvantage by building new military and transport infrastructure that allows it to get troops quickly into the area,” the study said.

China has upgraded several key access dirt roads and constructed a ‘sealed’ road leading from Tangwu New Village to within 150-metre of the LAC ridge-line. “There is also currently a small PLA camp at the end of this road. It was the construction of this new road that enabled Chinese troops to surge upwards to Indian positions during the December 9 skirmish,” the study said.
While troop disengagements and redeployments at Galwan and Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh have reduced the risk of conflict, the opposite trend is taking place at the Yangtse plateau. “The recent provocative moves by Chinese troops to test the readiness of border outposts and erode the status quo at Yangtse have set a dangerous precedent,” it said.

As reported by TOI earlier, the manner in which China has systemically strengthened its military positions and infrastructure all along the entire 3,488-km LAC, stretching from eastern Ladakh to Arunachal, shows it has no plan to de-escalate heightened tensions with India in the near future.
India, of course, strongly guards Arunachal Pradesh, especially the Tawang sector that China claims as ‘South Tibet’, with “more than adequate” number of troops as well as firepower backed by enhanced surveillance capabilities to “hold” the 1,126-km LAC stretch in the state.

A senior Army officer said, “The PLA has always been unhappy about our presence on the Yangtse plateau, which overlooks its positions and roads, since the protracted Sumdorong Chu stand-off in 1986-87.”
“Yes, China has upgraded its infrastructure in the sector. But we too have layered defences and enough reserves. We could quickly mobilise additional troops after detecting the around 300 PLA soldiers who tried to change the status quo at Yangtse on December 9,” the officer said.
The ASPI study said India’s defences along the Yangtse plateau consist of a network of six relatively small frontline outposts, which are supplied by a forward base which is about 1.5 km from the LAC. Indian forces are based in “significant” deployments in valleys below plateau which are connected by steep dirt tracks.
The Indian positions are not impregnable to a concerted assault, the study said, noting that satellite imagery shows the dirt tracks or roads are already suffering from erosion and landslides due to their steep grade, environmental conditions and relatively poor construction.
In an “open conflict”, attacks on these dirt tracks would easily leave frontline Indian positions cut off from resupply, which coupled with PLA’s “surge capability”, could prove decisive, the study said.

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