Satellite Images Show Chinese Structures Near Deadly Showdown Site | China News

China appears to have added new structures near the site of a deadly border clash with India in the western Himalayas, new satellite imagery shows, raising concerns about new outbreaks among nuclear-armed neighbors.

Indian and Chinese military commanders agreed Monday to withdraw from a weeks-long clash at various locations along their disputed border following the June 15 clash in the Galwan Valley that killed 20 Indian soldiers, the most serious confrontation. deadly between the two countries in 45 years.

Satellite images showing new construction activity in the week after the brutal hand-to-hand combat underscore the challenge of the pullout and the risk that the deal will still crumble due to overlapping claims in the arid territory.

The Galwan Valley, where the clash occurred, lies within a remote stretch of the 3,380 km (2,100 mile) Current Control Line (LAC), the de facto border established after a war between India and China in 1962 that resulted in an awkward truce

Images taken Monday by US space technology firm Maxar Technologies show what appear to be sprawling Chinese structures on an elevated terrace overlooking the Galwan River.

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India says the area where the structures have emerged is on its side of LAC, which is poorly defined and poorly delimited between the two Asian nuclear powers.

China says the entire Galwan Valley, located about 14,000 feet (4,300m), is its territory and blames Indian troops for triggering the fighting.

The new activity includes camouflaged tents or covered structures against the base of a cliff and, within walking distance, a possible new camp under construction with walls or barricades. The camp was not seen in images made available to the Reuters news agency the week before.

Nathan Ruser, a satellite data expert at the Australian Institute of Strategic Policy, said the build-up suggested there was little sign of a decline.

“Satellite images from the Galwan Valley on June 22 show that ‘disconnection’ is not really the word that the [Indian] the government should be using it, “he said in a Twitter post.

On the Indian side, defensive barriers can be seen in the latest images that were not visible in the images taken in May. An Indian post appears to have been scaled down compared to the pictures from a month ago.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the apparent activity.

India’s defense ministry also did not respond to a request for comment.

Indian military officials have previously said they will closely monitor the planned disconnection process and verify it on the ground.

“There is a confidence deficit when it comes to the Chinese,” said former Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor.

“So if they tell us verbally that they are ready to withdraw, we will wait to see him on the ground. Until then, the military will be on alert.”

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Meanwhile, the Indian army chief visited the Galwan Valley on Wednesday to review the readiness of his troops amid tensions with China. He also visited wounded soldiers at a hospital in Leh, the largest city in the Ladakh region.

An Indian Army tweet said General Manoj Mukund Naravane visited “advanced areas in eastern Ladakh and reviewed the status of the operation on the ground.”

The trip comes amid news reports that the Chinese military had crossed the disputed border into another strategic area on the Depsang Plains. There were no immediate comments from the Indian army.

The Indian Express newspaper reported that the intrusion was seen as another attempt by the Chinese to change the royal line of control further west on the disputed border.

Rahul Bedi, a defense analyst, said that despite calls for mutual withdrawal, tensions between Chinese and Indian forces were still high in LAC.

“India is trying to equalize China’s military assets in the region. The Chinese have entered disputed areas where both sides are trying to maneuver the situation to their advantage,” Bedi said, adding that he did not see a quick end to the crisis.

Al Jazeera and news agencies