China is building a bridge across the Pangong Lake in the frontier region of Ladakh in Indian-administered Kashmir, raising fresh security concerns in India.
The 400-metre-long and 8-metre-wide bridge being constructed near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between the two nuclear powers, was spotted through high resolution satellite images, Indian media reports said last week.
India’s foreign ministry said the bridge is being constructed in areas that have been “under the illegal occupation by China for around 60 years now”, adding that the Indian government was “monitoring” the construction activity “closely”.
“The government has been taking all necessary steps to ensure that our security interests are fully protected,” ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi told reporters earlier this month.
India and China are locked in a military standoff along the LAC in Ladakh region since April 2020, when the two sides accused each other of trespassing.
The standoff turned deadly in June that year when 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in a rare hand-to-hand combat using clubs and rocks.
The incident was followed by unprecedented mobilisation of troops on both sides of the border and the two armies holding multiple rounds of talks to resolve the standoff.
Meanwhile, the tensions also led to a spike in the construction of military infrastructure on both sides of the disputed border.
According to Indian media reports, more than 100 projects were completed by India’s Border Roads Organisation in 2021, most of which are closer to the border with China.