Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
LAC situation critical: former MP:
Thupstan Chhewang, former BJP MP from Ladakh, has said:
- Chinese troops have further transgressed into Indian territory and occupied positions in Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of Pangong Tso (lake).
- Indian soldiers were living in tents and it was not adequate for them in sub-zero conditions.
Why there is a dispute here?
The Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the line that separates Indian and Chinese troops since 1962 – generally runs along the land except for the width of Pangong Tso. Here, it runs through water.
- Both sides have marked their areas announcing which side belongs to which country.
- India controls about 45 km stretch of the Pangong Tso and China the rest.
The lake is divided into sections called fingers:
There are eight of them in contention here. India and China have different understanding of where the LAC passes through.
- India has maintained that the LAC passes through Finger 8, which has been the site of the final military post of China.
- India has been patrolling the area – mostly on foot because of the nature of the terrain – up to Finger 8. But Indian forces have not had active control beyond Finger 4.
- China, on the other hand, says the LAC passes through Finger 2. It has been patrolling up to Finger 4- mostly in light vehicles, and at times up to Finger 2.
Why China wants to encroach areas alongside Pangong Tso?
- Pangong Tso is strategically crucial as it is very close to Chusul Valley, which was one of the battlefronts between India and China during the 1962 war.
- China also does not want India to boost its infrastructure anywhere near the LAC. China fears it threatens its occupation of Aksai Chin and Lhasa-Kashgar highway.
- Any threat to this highway also puts Chinese rather imperialist plans in Pakistan-occupied territories in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, and beyond in Pakistan.
About Pangong Tso:
- Pangong Tso literally translates into a “conclave lake”.
- Situated at over 14,000 feet, the Lake is about 135 km long.
- It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.
- The Karakoram Mountain range ends at the north bank of Pangong Tso. Its southern bank too has high broken mountains sloping towards Spangur Lake in the south.
- What is LoC and how is it established, geographical extent and significance?
- What is LAC?
- Where is Nathu la?
- Where is Pangong Tso?
- Who administers Akashi Chin?
- Where is Naku La?
- Who controls what in Pangong Tso lake region?
Discuss the significance of Pangong Tso for India and China.
Sources: the Hindu.