Issue no 3: India-China Border Dispute, Taiwan and China, PLA Modernisation, Cyber and Space, Naval
I. India-China Border Dispute
It’s been three years since the clash between Chinese and Indian troops at the Galwan Valley resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and at least 4 Chinese soldiers. In the past three years, the two sides have held over 14 Corps Commander-level meetings, 24 Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination Meetings (not all WMCC meetings were held in the past three years – some were held before) and multiple interactions between foreign, defence and national security leadership of the two countries. However, despite these meetings, the two sides have only managed to achieve disengagement in three of the six areas. The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) remain deployed in forward positions across the disputed border with a tripwire waiting to trigger.
Recent reports highlight that China has completed the construction of the first bridge over Pangong Tso. It is now constructing a second bridge capable of carrying armoured columns. The report highlights that the first bridge — whose construction started at the end of 2021 and finished last month — is being used as a service bridge for the second construction. The new bridge is being built from both sides of the lake simultaneously. The first bridge was aimed at cutting down a 180-km loop from Khurnak to the southern banks through Rudok. Reports highlight that the route from Khurnak to Rudok would come down to 40-50 km. In addition, the induction of troops from the G219 highway would come down by 130 km due to this bridge. On the north bank, there is a PLA garrison at Kurnak fort and another on the south bank at Moldo. The distance between the two is around 200 km, and the bridge was between the closest points on the two banks, which is about 500m. Reports highlight that the bridge will reduce the movement time between the two sectors from around 12 to four hours.