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The construction of defensive infrastructure is in direct violation of the bilateral agreement that both nations made to de-escalate the militarisation of the region. The construction of camps, gun emplacements and roads was one of the reasons for the conflict earlier in June that saw the death of tens of Indian and Chinese soldiers. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the violence and China has yet to declare the fatalities on its side.
Prime Minister Modi of India has increased tensions by framing the high altitude conflict as an Indian victory over an aggressively expansionist China.
Yesterday he announced: “A befitting reply has been given to those who cast an evil eye on Indian territory in Ladakh.
“Our brave soldiers have shown that they will never allow the honour of mother India to be hurt.”
Now a Colorado-based satellite imagery company has revealed very recent building work from both sides in the fractious Galwan River Valley.
These reports contradict the rhetoric from military commanders on both sides who have publicly announced that they will disengage from encouraging a further standoff in the area.
Experts in Colorado who studied the footage have detected a new wall built on the Indian side and an expanded outpost camp newly erected on the Chinese side.
The conflict was prompted by China’s outrage after India split the territory of Jammu and Kashmir into two federal regions.
A map was then publicly released by India of the new regions.
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This drew the ire of Beijing as the map showed that the arid high altitude plateau of Aksai Chin had been in fact placed within the Indian area of control.
This affront to Chinese expansionism saw more building of bunkers and camps by the People’s Liberation Army within Indian territory.
New Delhi then responded by sending men over to dismantle the Chinese constructions.
This led to the fatal fist fight last week that saw men die from wounds in the freezing waters of a glacial river.
The line of actual control in this high altitude region was established following the 1962 war between China and India that saw thousands of men on both sides killed in the sparsely populated region.
Currently, Indian and Chinese officials are trying to work out a way to reduce tensions at the diplomatic level, but this can only be seen as mock negotiations if at the same time they are ramping up the militarisation of the border.
The Chinese side of the disputed line is territory formally controlled by the Kingdom of Tibet.
However, China claims vast regions of this area based on historic maps from the 1800s and even further back into antiquity.
India, on the other hand, wishes to keep to the McMahon line that was drawn by the British Empire to show the area of control of India in the jagged and maze-like Karakoram mountains.
The Chinese do not recognise the McMahon line as being legitimate, causing a fluid border area that is constantly being contested over.
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