The latest satellite images released by Maxar Technologies, a US-based space firm, shows Chinese forces developing strategic structures beyond Finger 8 on the northern bank of the Pangong Tso lake. Sharing the satellite image, Foreign Policy reporter Jack Detsch tweeted, “Satellite imagery from Oct shows China continuing to build up a position at Pangong Tso, months after agreeing to disengage w/ Indian troops. Chinese and Indian tanks were stationed within firing distance of one other near the area in early 2021, per Indian media.”
Satellite imagery from Oct shows China continuing to build up a position at Pangong Tso, months after agreeing to disengage w/ Indian troops.
Chinese and Indian tanks were stationed within firing distance of one other near the area in early 2021, per Indian media.
— Jack Detsch (@JackDetsch) December 20, 2021
The Chinese construction is located between Finger 8 and Sirijap areas in the Aksai Chin region. Notably, the region beyond Finger 8 was under Chinese control even before the ongoing border dispute between India and China in Eastern Ladakh flared up in May 2020. Earlier in February this year, China vacated the flashpoint between Finger 4 and Finger 8 during the disengagement process in the Pangong Lake area. China’s People’s Liberation Army(PLA) pulled back its troops to the Finger 8 area after the 10th Commander-level talks between senior military officials of both nations. The structures erected by the Chinese army in the region of conflict including a jetty on the northern bank of Pangong Tso and a helipad were dismantled before the retreat.
The latest satellite image by Maxar Technologies shows an apparent jetty being used by Chinese boats and vessels on the Pangong Tso. Multiple shelters or storage facilities can also be seen in the image along with a probable helipad. Earlier satellite image of the buildup site sourced from Google Earth shows the under-construction structures.