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Tawang skirmish: China stepped up efforts for improved access near LAC, says Australian think tank

New DelhiEdited By: Mukul SharmaUpdated: Dec 21, 2022, 07:02 PM IST
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Photograph:(AFP)

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Tawang skirmish: The analysis of satellite imagery by Australian Strategic Policy Institute, an Australian think tank based in Canberra, has showed that the Chinese have built up new military and transport infrastructure to counter India's advantageous positions on the Yangtse plateau.

India maintains a commanding position in northeastern Arunachal Pradesh state's Yangtse plateau in the Tawang sector, close to the location where December 9 skirmish between Indian and Chinese troops took place, an analysis by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a defence and strategic policy think tank based in Canberra, said on Tuesday citing its visual project's satellite imagery. 

WATCH | India-China Clash: Faceoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Arunachal's Tawang

The advancement of about 300 Chinese troops was thwarted by the Indian side on December 9 in the Tawang sector, following which a semblance of "stability" came into being due to efforts from both sides. 

China's accessibility to Yangtse plateau has improved: ASPI analysis

The analysis by the Canberra-based think tank stated that China's rapid development of infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) means that the Chinese "can now access key locations on the Yangtse Plateau more easily than it could have just one year ago". 

In the Yangtse plateau, India maintains a commanding position on the plateau's high ground. "China has compensated for this disadvantage by building new military and transport infrastructure that allows it to get troops quickly into the area," the ASPI report said. 

India-China LAC standoff: Increased risk of escalation, conflict

The ASPI report, while referring to India's Line of Actual Control with China, said that it continues to become "more crowded", as infrastructure is built and large numbers of Indian and Chinese outposts compete for strategic, operational and tactical advantage.

"This increases the risk of escalation and potential military conflict stemming from incidental or deliberate encounters between Indian and Chinese troops," it said. 

Tawang's significance

Between October 1950 and May 1951, China occupied the Buddhist state of Tibet by military means, forcing the state's spiritual figurehead Dalai Lama to seek refuge in India. 

Years later, China made no secret of its desire to seek control of the Tawang sector, due to its historic monasteries that hold remarkable significance for the Tibetan people. 

The December 9 skirmish is only the latest among decades of many localised India-China clashes that have been reported from Arunachal Pradesh. The confrontation was the most serious one between Indian and Chinese troops since Galwan in 2020.

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