Defence

China Objects To Indian Air Activities Near LAC And Accelerates Road Construction Before Winter Arrives

Story Highlights
  • The development follows India's detection of a Chinese aircraft flying close to the LAC in eastern Ladakh in June of this year.
  • According to sources, India has expressed concern in recent rounds of military talks about China's construction of infrastructure near the disputed LAC.

China has recently raised concerns about major air activities conducted by India near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), particularly in the eastern sector, according to two government officials familiar with the situation.

According to an official, this includes routine helicopter sorties for transportation of men and equipment for construction work, as well as drone operations conducted within the Indian side of the LAC in recent weeks.

The objections were discussed by local commanders from both sides.

The development follows India’s detection of a Chinese aircraft flying close to the LAC in eastern Ladakh in June of this year. As a result, one of the topics discussed during the 16th round of military talks between India and China was keeping each other informed of any air activity planned by either side.

This development is also significant because it comes amid an ongoing military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, with the last few rounds of military talks between the two countries yielding little progress, resulting in lingering tensions at the LAC.

Furthermore, historical records show that most Chinese incursion attempts have occurred during these months, just before the arrival of winter. in September-October of last year, India foiled a Chinese incursion attempt in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.

CONCERNS OVER LARGE-SCALE INFRA DEVELOPMENT

With winter approaching in a few months, India and China have both accelerated their infrastructure development efforts.

According to the sources cited above, this is especially true for approach roads to the LAC. “China is building roads near the LAC at breakneck speed.” India has also been constructing roads and other critical infrastructure near the LAC.

Aside from the numerous connecting and approaching roads, China has been working on long-term strategic highway projects.

According to a South China Morning Post report last month, Beijing is planning to build a new highway through the disputed Aksai Chin area. The G695 highway will run north of the LAC from Lhunze county in Tibet to Mazha in Xinjiang.

According to sources, India has expressed concern in recent rounds of military talks about China’s construction of infrastructure near the disputed LAC.

A MYSTERY

However, China’s ‘Xiaokang’ border defence villages have remained unoccupied for more than a year after they were built.

China has been constructing 628 such “affluent” villages along India’s borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region, including in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.

The precise purpose of the large structures is unknown, but India is concerned that they could be used for both civil and military purposes.

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