India says China is building new bridge in tense border area to make it easier to deploy troops

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The bridge under construction will connect the north and south banks of Pangong Lake, Indian army officials said. The 135km lake crosses the border from the Ladakh region of India-administered Kashmir into Tibet.

Analysts have said that any break-out of full scale war would be likely to occur nearby.

The bridge “will help them in swift consolidation of their troops on either bank of the lake”, said an army officer, on condition of anonymity.

The officer said moving men and machinery across the lake “would take them 12 to 15 hours”, adding: “Now it will reduce their time by at least eight hours.”

Chinese forces’ route across the lake will be cut by the bridge from 200km to around 45km, the officer said.

“The reported new bridge over Pangong Tso is on Chinese-controlled land, so it’s about tactical utility, not a land-grab,” said Arzan Tarapore, an Asian security analyst.

It is part of the People’s Liberation Army’s plan to build infrastructure so that large forces can surge quickly to the border front in event of a war, he said.

Sources also said China has also built a new road to the Moldo garrison, a People’s Liberation Army military camp on the north of Pangong lake, that makes it more difficult for Indian soldiers stationed on advantageous heights to spot troop movements.

Chinese military presence remains

India and China disengaged from the southern banks of Pangong Lake in February last year, after tough negotiations.

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