Satellite images ‘show China structures’ on India border in Glawan valley

Satellite images 'show China structures' on India border in Glawan valley
New satellite images show the area near Patrol Point 14 where a clash between Indian and Chinese forces took place on 15 June. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: New satellite images suggest that China has built new structures near the site of a Himalayan border, where a clash between India and China left 20 Indian troops dead earlier this month.

Storage units for military hardware, Bunkers and tents are visible in an area where last month there were none.

Fighting between the two countries, both nuclear-armed powers, over their disputed frontier has prompted alarm. Chinese casualties were also reported but the country has not confirmed yet.

The latest satellite images were published as both sides hold talks to defuse tensions.

Space technology company Maxar took the latest images on 22 June. Reuters news agency reported that the structures which appear to have been built by China overlooking the Galwan River were not visible in aerial photographs earlier in June.

Neither China nor India has commented.

A deadly clash in Galwan Valley, a disputed Himalayan territory of Ladakh, took place on 15 June, and tensions have been on the rise between the two neighbors since3 then. The clash occurred weeks after high-level military commanders from both nations agreed to “peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements.”

The two nations have tried to publicly calm tensions since the clash, and amid spiralling rhetoric.

On Wednesday, India’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying that India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and the Chinese Foreign Minister HE Wang Yi “reaffirmed that both sides should sincerely implement the understanding on disengagement and de-escalation that was reached by the senior commanders on 6 June”.

What do the satellite images show?

Leading Indian defence analyst Ajai Shukla tweeted that “there is a large Chinese camp in the Galwan Valley, 1.5km into the Indian side of the LAC [Line of Actual Control]”.

Local media have also quoted sources in the Indian army as saying that the additional Chinese build-up seemed to have taken place between the 15 June clash and commander-level talks prior to that.

The images suggest Chinese construction in the Galwan Valley came after talks between army commanders. Source: Reuters

Satellite imagery from May shows no structures in the disputed area near where the clashes took place.

P Stobdan, an expert in Ladakh affairs and former Indian diplomat told the construction was “worrying”.

He said: “The [Indian] government has not released any pictures or made a statement, so it’s hard to assess. But the images released by private firms show that the Chinese have built infrastructure and have not retreated.”

You may read: China accuses India of ‘deliberate provocation’ in Galwan Valley