In a blatant display of expansionism by China, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has increased concentration of forces in the Depsang area.
The Depsang plains are strategically important as they provide access to the Karakoram Pass and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) advanced landing ground. It is also the closest to India’s newly constructed Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road. Both the DSDBO road and DBO airstrip give India an additional edge over China for quick concentration of forces.
Recent satellite images of September show that the PLA has suddenly started amassing its troops about 2-3 km east of Tianwendian post, which is located opposite India’s DBO sector and has been supposedly guarding the China National Highway 219 (G219) passing through occupied eastern Ladakh.
The radar located at Tianwendian post can overlook not only the DBO airstrip but also monitor aerial movement right up to Siachen’s main helipad.
Barely a section post earlier, it has over a period of time become a battalion post with many subunits located ahead of it. The Tianwendian post – the oldest post in this area – was established after the 1962 Sino-Indian war under the garb of an astronomical observatory.
The current concentration in the area includes anti-aircraft batteries and a large number of forces in tentage.