China is building a bridge in east Ladakh that will connect the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, which would significantly reduce the time for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to move troops and equipment between the two sectors.
- On the north bank there is a PLA garrison in the Kurnak fortress and on the south bank in Moldo and the distance between the two is about 200 km.
- The new bridge between the narrowest points on two banks, which is around 500 m, will reduce the travel time between the two sectors from around 12 hours to 3-4 hours.
- The bridge is about 25 km before the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- The bridge is on Chinese territory and the Indian army must now take this into account in their deployment plans.
- India holds a third of the 135 km long boomerang-shaped lake that sits at an altitude of over 14,000 feet. The lake, a glacial melt, has foothills of the Chang Chenmo Mountains known as fingers.
- The north bank, which has much greater differences in perception of LAC than the south bank, was the original site of the clashes in early May 2020, while tensions around the south bank flared up later in August.
- The Indian army gained a tactical advantage over the PLA on the south bank in late August by occupying several peaks exposed since 1962 and gaining a dominant view of the Moldo area. Indian troops also set up posts on the north bank opposite the positions of the VBA on the ridge lines of Finger 4.
- In February 2020, as part of the first phase of the withdrawal, both sides agreed on full withdrawal on the north and south banks of Lake Pangong.
Source: The Hindu
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