The 19th round of corps commander-level talks is yet to take place after China once again refused troop disengagement at the strategically located Depsang Plains as well as the Charding Ninglung Nallah track junction at Demchok in eastern Ladakh during the last meet on April 23.
Sources say the PLA has “shown no inclination yet” to resolve the military confrontation in eastern Ladakh, while relentlessly consolidating its military positions in terms of bunkers, posts, artillery positions, surface-to-air missile systems, radar sites and ammunition storages.
“The PLA also continues massive infrastructure development in terms of new helipads, roads, bridges, dual-use Xiaokang border villages and last-mile connectivity, which has further picked up speed in the last couple of months to support its forward positions,” a source told TOI.
China has also massively upgraded all its air bases facing India like Hotan, Kashgar, Gargunsa, Shigatse, Hoping, Lingzhi and Lhasa-Gonggar. “Seven to eight new airfields and heliports are also coming up,” said another source.
The stepped-up PLA activity on the ground is under way along all the three sectors of the LAC – western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal). At Pangong Tso, for instance, the PLA has increased the number of troop shelters, weapon systems, jetties, and assault boats near the “no patrol buffer zone” created after the troop disengagement at Pangong Tso in February 2021.
“There is massive infrastructure development in the stretch between ‘Finger-8’ and Chinese military bases to the east at Sirijap-I and II on the north bank. The PLA will also soon complete the main bridge in the Khurnak area, after building the secondary one last year,” a source said.