Satellite pic shows China had fighting positions and a large base at Ladakh standoff point

Credit – Vishnu Som ( NDTV)

Pics Show China Had Large Base, Fighting Positions At Ladakh Standoff Point
Pics Show China Had Large Base, Fighting Positions At Ladakh Standoff Point
The Gogra disengagement between the Indian and Chinese Army came after the 16th round of talks between Corps Commander ranked Army officers of both sides on July 17, this year.

New satellite images accessed by NDTV confirm that Chinese soldiers have withdrawn 3 kilometres from the position that they occupied across the Line of Actual Control in Gogra-Hot Springs in Eastern Ladakh. The withdrawal is part of a mutual disengagement process that saw the Chinese army bringing down a major base at the Line of Actual Control near an area the Indian Army used to patrol in 2020.
The before and after images available to NDTV from satellite imagery specialists Maxar focus only on Chinese positions and do not show the extent of the buffer-zone, or no-man’s land, created between the Armies of both sides as part of the agreement. No patrolling is permitted in this zone as a confidence-building measure.

The pre-disengagement image of August 12, 2022 shows the Chinese army had constructed a large building across the Line of Actual Control near an area the Indian Army used to patrol before the Chinese incursions across the LAC took place in Ladakh in 2020. The building is surrounded by trenches and what appear to be fox holes for infantry and mortar positions.

An image dated September 15 indicates that the Chinese have brought down this building and transported construction debris from this site to what appears to be a temporary position to the North.

Another image shows that the landform at the site vacated by the Chinese has been restored along the lines of the disengagement agreement announced by both sides.

Relocated Chinese post after disengagement in Gogra-Hot Springs area. high res

Local councillors in Ladakh have stated that part of the agreement involved the Indian Army removing their own posts well within Indian territory, details of which have not been confirmed by Army officials in New Delhi.

”Our troops have gone back from not only Patrol Point 15 (PP-15) but also Patrol Point 16 (PP-16), which we had for the last 50 years or so” says Konchok Stanzin, the Councillor for the Chushul region of Ladakh. ”This was a big setback. Our grazing grounds (for nomadic graziers in the region) have now become a buffer zone. It was the main winter grazing ground. It is now a buffer zone.”

The Gogra disengagement between the Indian and Chinese Army came after the 16th round of talks between Corps Commander ranked army officers of both sides on July 17, this year. According to the External Affairs Ministry, ”It has been agreed that all temporary structures and other allied infrastructure created in the area by both sides will be dismantled and mutually verified. The landforms in the area will be restored to the pre-standoff period by both sides.” The new satellite images confirm that this did happen.

Relocated Chinese post lies 3 kms northeast of dismantled post. high res

The disengagement in Gogra, which was completed on September 12, four days after it began, had triggered speculation of the possibility of talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Xinping in Samarkand, Uzbekistan over the last two days. While both leaders shared the stage at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, the first time they met since the Galwan clashes of May 5, 2020, they never shook hands or held any formal or informal talks.

Mutual disengagement and the creation of buffer zones have proven to be the only way to get the Chinese to return across the Line of Actual Control. While this has meant that the stalemate has been broken in 4 areas where the Chinese crossed over, it is also clear that these buffer zones have been created within Indian territory, areas where the Indian Army or the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) can no longer patrol.

It is believed that the Chinese Army continues to block Indian patrol positions in the Depsang Plains, North of Gogra. Disengagement talks have, so, far, not made progress here (The image here don’t show the location of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since this has not been disclosed in public.)

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