The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is constructing a new road on the north of Spangur Tso (or south of Pangong Tso) and it has become a matter of concern for India as both the nations are engaged in a standoff.
Xinhua news agency, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP), published some photos showing the PLA commandos exercising and doing routine physical training on the south of Spangur Tso.
The Xinhua report has brought to the public’s attention occupation of the eastern Ladakh by Chinese, especially the areas south of Pangong Tso and Spangur Tso. The PLA has started constructing a mountainous road along the Spangur Tso on its north, around the Matung Nyungtsa mountain.
This road is almost 5m wide and connects to main road S301 (301 Provincial Road) coming from Rutok, the town at the eastern edge of Pangong Tso. This road is still being constructed with length of around 200m remaining.
This new road will be instrumental for China to occupy the entire southern bank of Pangong Tso. The mountain tops on the southern bank of Pangong Tso, east of Finger 4 are already reported to be occupied. PLA has established tents at a location slightly above the northern bank of Spangur Tso and at least one more mountain top post could be noticed on the ridgeline between Pangong Tso and Spangur Tso.
There is a buzz on Chinese social media with four pictures whose date is not clear. These pictures show Chinese commando troops doing some routine endurance training south of Spangur Tso. The pictures are expected to be taken in August-September and were released probably in the first week of December. These show exercises which the Indian Army conducts on a regular basis during its physical training period every morning. Other reports have also shown exoskeletons being used by the Chinese troops for climbing these high-altitude mountains.
However, these satellite images show more than what the Chinese wanted to. The Chinese troops are in tents. No hot food supplies via drones is noticed. However, fresh snowfall could be seen by satellite imagery between December 25 and December 30, 2020. In September last year, Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin tweeted a video which showed drones supplying hot meals to Chinese frontline soldiers.
The Spangur Tso is currently completely frozen and Pangong Tso is reported to be frozen east of Finger Five. This will prohibit the Chinese PLA to use speed boats. However, India can patrol the Pangong Tso through boats.