China starts building another bridge across Pangong Lake, India says ‘monitoring development’

Personnel of Indo-Tibetan Border Police forces on the banks of Pangong Lake in Ladakh during cleaning drive. [Photo: Ladakh Tourism dept]

Ladakh: A day after reports of China constructing the second bridge across the Pangong Lake that will be capable of accommodating heavily armoured vehicles, emerged, India said that the area where the reported construction is being undertaken has been considered an “occupied area” by New Delhi for decades.

While speaking to the media, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India monitors such developments and that the ministry had seen the reports regarding the bridge and it could not comment on it from a military perspective.

“Implications and details can only be given by the Ministry of Defence. Will share if there is any update,” Bagchi said.

On Thursday, reports emerged that China has begun constructing a second bridge across the Pangong Lake that will be capable of accommodating heavy armoured vehicles, months after completing another bridge in the same region that is claimed by India.

According to reports, the second bridge is being constructed parallel to the first bridge, which is narrower and was completed in April this year.

The first bridge is being used to move equipment such as cranes needed to build the second one, according to experts who analysed the latest high-resolution satellite imagery of the site.

When reports about the construction of the first bridge linking the north and south banks of the strategic Pangong Lake emerged in January, the external affairs ministry said the structure is located in areas under illegal occupation by China for 60 years.

Speaking on the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the external affairs ministry spokesperson said that talks were on and India has put its stance forward.

“And the external affairs minister, while talking to the media subsequently, then said that the friction and tensions that arise from China’s deployments since April 2020 cannot be reconciled with a normal relationship between two neighbours,” Bagchi said.

Bagchi said that India would remain engaged with the Chinese side, both at diplomatic and military levels, to ensure that the directions given by the two ministers are implemented fully.

“The frictions cannot be reconciled without a solution to the border issue,” Bagchi added.


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