India: Chinese bridges on Pangong Lake illegal: India

India has claimed that Chinese bridges on Pangong Lake are illegal and has stated that it has not accepted China’s illegal occupation of its territory, nor any such construction activity on its territory.

In response to media inquiries about reports of China building a second bridge across Pangong Lake, MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said: “We have seen reports of a bridge being built by China on Pangong Lake alongside its previous bridge. These two bridges are in areas that have remained under China’s illegal occupation since the 1960s. We have never accepted such illegal occupation of our territory, nor have we accepted Chinese unjustified claims or such construction activities. We have made it clear on several occasions that the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India and we expect other countries to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.”

To ensure the nation’s security interests are fully protected, the government has accelerated border infrastructure development, including road and bridge construction, especially since 2014, Bagchi said.

“The Government remains committed to the goal of creating infrastructure along the border areas to not only meet India’s strategic and security needs but also to promote the economic development of these areas. And of course, the government is constantly monitoring all developments affecting India’s security and taking all necessary measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Bagchi said.

Earlier Thursday, the MEA said it was monitoring the situation along Pangong Tso, where the Chinese side has reportedly built a “second bridge”.

Bagchi said the government will continue to work with the Chinese side regarding their deployment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“We have seen reports of this bridge or a second bridge… We are monitoring the situation. Of course, we always felt that it was occupied… Discussions are ongoing with the Chinese side,” Bagchi said.

The MEA spokesman’s statement came after reports, citing satellite imagery, claimed that China was building a “larger” second bridge on the Pangong Tso.

Such a bridge would reportedly allow for faster mobilization of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the event of a conflict. According to reports, the bridge is about 20 km from the LAC. Photos of the construction were posted by Damien Symon, a geospatial researcher, on his Twitter handle.