According to the latest intelligence and surveillance accounts, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China has built new troop shelters and fortifications along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India. It includes a new modular container-based accommodations for its soldiers at least eight forward locations along the LAC and two batteries of S-400 surface to air missiles along with other air defence assets in the region.
The new shelters have been seen in Wahab Zilga near the Karakoram Pass in the north, and in Piue, Hot Springs, Chang La, Tashigong, Manza and Churup, moving south along the LAC.
Earlier in June this year, China deployed two S-400 squadrons of anti-aircraft systems at Hotan air base in Xinjiang and Nyingchi air base in Tibet, just across Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh respectively.
According to the recent satellite images, it is revealed that China is also building a helicopter base in Aksai Chin.
The PLA base is located only 130 kilometres away from the Galwan Valley in north eastern Ladakh, where 20 Indians and dozens of Chinese soldiers were killed in clashes on 15 June last year.
The helicopter bases are a part of a massive infrastructure build-up drive launched by China last year, which includes expansion of airbases near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to accommodate a greater presence of fighter jets and unmanned aerial vehicles on the Tibetan Plateau.
"..nearly 30 civilian airports have been built or are under construction in Xinjiang and Tibet," as quoted by a news report on the website of China's Ministry of National Defence, dated 6 September this year. Infrastructure upgrades have also been underway at the airbases in Hotan, located north of Ladakh, and Shigatse, north of Sikkim.
India, too, has been developing infrastructure in border areas at breakneck pace, and projects in frontier areas are receiving greater attention after the tense standoff with China along the LAC and the clashes in Galwan.
At least 37 helipads are under construction in the Union Territory of Ladakh, reports say, and four new airports capable of handling wide bodied aircraft are being planned.
Like China, India has also built adequate infrastructure, including heated housing for soldiers in high-altitude areas. These camps have electricity, water and heating facilities, and special attention has been given to health and hygiene arrangements.
Image Courtesy: Swarajya