New Delhi: China in the recent past has been massively developing its military infrastructure, not just around the stand-off locations in Ladakh. Instead China is also increasing its military power in other areas of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Western Theatre Command is looking after the ramping up of infrastructure project. China has quietly been carrying out these works as the world remains focused on the standoff in the Ladakh region.
The deployment and the renewed focus on infrastructure upgrade has prompted Indian officials to suspect that the rapid militarisation of the border may be also linked to continuing efforts by President Xi Jinping to drive sinicization of Tibet with Han domination over Buddhist Lhasa.
“We would ordinarily have expected the mobilisation and the focus of the infra upgrade to be limited to the stand-off points, mostly aimed at warding off any armed threat from India to occupied Aksai Chin. But this is not the case,” a top national security planner has been quoted as saying by the ‘Hindustan Times’ website. “There has been a clear effort to militarise the autonomous region through infrastructure upgrade,” the security planner added.
The official cited recent satellite imagery of the Tibet region. It shows shelters to house fighter jets in an excavated hill at Gonggar airbase in Lhasa, massive storage facility at Golmud in Qinghai province, a new road between Xinjiang region’s Kanxiwar and border upgrade at Nyangulu and Nyingchi across Arunachal Pradesh. Nyangulu is 60 kilometres from the Arunachal Pradesh border. It was again used as a forward PLA camp in the 1962 India-China war.
The development of Shiquanhe a mere 82 kilometres from the Demchok LAC and construction of shelters near Mabdo La camp in occupied Aksai Chin means that while the focus of the global community will be on India-China stand-off, the Chinese communist leadership will continue to put its indelible stamp on Tibet.