Frontier Infrastructure: What's up on the PRC or Chinese side?

bennedose

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So far I have concentrated on the northern part of the LAC in north west Aksai Chin near DBO.

Next I will move to the south-west area of the LAC to the Chushul area. The Chushul area differs from the northern parts near DBO in three significant ways. First, Chinese logiistics lines are somewhat shorter - the two main roads to the area are 120 and 150 km long (as per my measurements that straighten out minute road curves). Secondly, the roads do not run through Aksai Chin as they do in the north but in westen Tibet. Thrid, and possibly most significant is the fact that the area, and the access roads themselves are 800 meters to 1000 meters lower in altitude than Aksai Chin. For this reason there are human settlements along the roads - although some of them clearly look like "planned" Chinese settlements brought in by the PLA rather than indigenous Tibetan villages. there is some vegetation and there are farmlands, hay and green farm plots visible.

The condition of the roads themselves appears to be somewhat better than the roads in Aksai Chin, but here again long stretches still appear "kaccha" and simply cross rivers without any sign of bridges or other construction work.

The area near the LAC close to Chushul saw some of the fiercest battles in 1962. The two roughly parallel green coloured roads are the two main Chinese roads leading to the rergion from the main G 219 highway (in blue). These two roads are like two brackets that exactly enclose the geography in the region. At the LAC there are two long (not oval) east-west lakes. The northern lake is the longer one and is called Pangong lake. (blue letters in map)The western reaches of Pangong lake are under Indian control. The more northen one of the two Chinese roads runs on the north shore of Pangong lake and ends at the LAC.

About 15-20 km south of Pangong lake is another lake called the Spangur lake (again in blue letters in the map below). The second Chinese road is on the south shore of this lake. The area between the two lakes is mountainous and there appear to be no visible lakeside roads along the narrow strip of land between the two lakes. There is however one road that I have labelled as "Insane zig-zag road" that leads from the north shore of Spangur lake (the southern lake) to the south shore area of Pangong lake (the northern lake). This road has about 106 hairpin bends over a length of about 6 km and the road itself must be 20 or 30 km long over this segment.

Surprisingly I was able to spot no boats or wakes of boats or jetties with boats anywhere on these lakes.

All these features can be examined using the kmz file linked below.

About half of the southern lake, Spangur lake was under Indian control in 1962, but the border was pushed back up to the current LAC which is at the western end of Spangur lake. Chushul lies in this area, which is to the west of the end of spangur lake and south of Panging lake. There appears to be an unpaved airstrip just to the west of Spangur lake and I suspect this is the now unused Indian airstrip at Chushul.

I post the overview map below along with the Google earth kmz file. I will post details I have found and my comments in later posts

kmz file: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3J...0B3JNY4IY8u2bTjUyak9KajN5WFU/edit?usp=sharing

Overview image- click on image to see original
 
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bennedose

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Along the road on the south bank of Spangur lake, just 6 km from the LAC is a Chinese military installation with a large Chinese flag made of materials that clearly show the Stars on the flag
kmz: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bbG42b1JVVVBZLXc/edit?usp=sharing



Two km inland, near the above base are comunication satellite dishes and a tower
kmz: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bUVhNZG9xejQ3a0U/edit?usp=sharing



60 km from the LAC along the south bank road from Spangur lake is a huge residential type complex with many buildings and probably more than 50,000 sq ft floor area.
kmz: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bY3hKVUo5em5Ed2M/edit?usp=sharing


What is surprising is that I cannot see any vehicles either in the bases or roads. Not too much activity at the time of taking of photo. If it takes 4 hours to traverse the length of the south bank road - then it means that there were no vehciles for about 4 hours around the time the photo was taken. And where are the vehicles in the bases? Where is the fuel stored?
 

pmaitra

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For the last photo, residential complex i.e., I have seen similar things in the deserts of Mongolia. Do check them out. Looks like houses with backyards and a small agricultural field or cattle field. Could be a village.
 

Ray

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Excellent maps and interpretation.
 

bennedose

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For the last photo, residential complex i.e., I have seen similar things in the deserts of Mongolia. Do check them out. Looks like houses with backyards and a small agricultural field or cattle field. Could be a village.
There is definietly a vilage to the east (right side) but these buildings are all 100 feet long and 25 to 30 feet wide. They are huge and are more likely to be a residential complex (and perhaps farms too) sponsored by the PLA which is known to have business interests. It would make sense for them to settle ethnic Hans in the area and grow or rear what they can. But twenty-five 2500 sq foot buildings in a desolate region on a road that leads to the Indian border where the Chinese wear their militarty presence "on their shoulder" as it were is unlikely to be anything innocent.

Here is an image of Shanzong village on the same road. This looks like a village and the building sizes are more in keeping with what one woud expect of a village
 

bennedose

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Before i move on to another area of Aksai Chin let me post the other stuff fof note - this time on the road that runs along the north bank of Pangong lake. The roads seems to end tamely at the LAC, in a loop as usual. The road is about 120 odd km long from G 219 to the LAC. There appear to be 2-3 camps with tents along the shore and at least one area that appears to be a military base. The interesting stuff is that there is one area that has a huge image of a human face with men sihouetted in front, and below that is a map of China and finally at the bottom are several messages in Chinese. This looks like standard PLA "Long Live the Revolution" (or Levorution?) but several dozen meters in size to be visible to spy satellites especially those satelleites that can read Chinese :cool2:
kmz: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bcS12b2d3NFdCazA/edit?usp=sharing



Nearby is the first jetty I spotted on Panging lake
kmz: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bcnpBa2dZa3JVSEk/edit?usp=sharing
 

bennedose

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In the last few pages I have posted details of Chinese roads in the northern part of the LAC at Aksai Chiun (near DBO) and the southern part od the LAC (near Chushul).

There remains a central part of the LAC between the above two areas which I will call the "mid LAC" area. I have marked the area in a white polygon in the overview map below. As usual the Chinese roads are in green and the G 219 is in blue on the right (east) side. In the west (left) is a blue line marking a river that I have marked as "unidentified river".

There are a few things to note in this area. The first thing is that this "mid LAC area" is about 150 km long (as a straight line ) estending from Depsang plain in the north to Pangong Lake in the south. The Chinese have only 4 roads leading up to the border in this 150 km length.

Why is this so?

For that one needs to understand that the LAC between Depsang plain and Pangong lake is made up of high mountains rising to over 6000 meters (20,000 feet) which serve as a natural physical barrier. On the Indian side the mountains drop off steeply for more than 1000 to 1500 meters into the Shyok river valley in the north and another unidentified river (marked in blue on the map) in the southern area just north of Pangong lake.

In the middle of this formidable physical barrier the Chinese have found two areas where their roads poke out to the LAC. In each area they have two finger like roads snaking out - I have given these roads the names "pincer north" and "pincer south" on the map below because each has a twin pincer like part poking out up to the LAC. Pincer North overlooks the unidentified river in Indian hands across the LAC, while Pincer south overlooks the northern end of Pangong lake where India has a helipad.

There are two approach roads to pincer north and pincer south. One is a connection from the north shore of Pangong lake leading to a point near pincer south that I have called "Junction X". It is an X shaped junction of 4 roads that has an interesting feature that I will describe later. The other main road from G 219 to pincer north is about 150 km long. I have lebelled it on the map as "rough road" because the road appears rough - and simply crosses a lot of streams and river beds with no bridge or other pucca infrastrcuture. neither pincer north nor pincer south appear to be connected by any all weather roads.

Please download or click on the kmz file for the area that I have linked and enlarge the palce marks to see what I have marked. these mid LAC roads have a lot of vehicles moving and parked. Junction X appears to have a palce that looks like hardened conctere shelters to me (details later). There seem to be many small military posts along the area.

kmz file: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bOWs3cGdJcElOYXM/edit?usp=sharing

Overview map of "mid-LAC area". The white polygon is the mid LAC area and the roads. Please dee kmz file above for details.
 
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pmaitra

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There is definietly a vilage to the east (right side) but these buildings are all 100 feet long and 25 to 30 feet wide. They are huge and are more likely to be a residential complex (and perhaps farms too) sponsored by the PLA which is known to have business interests. It would make sense for them to settle ethnic Hans in the area and grow or rear what they can. But twenty-five 2500 sq foot buildings in a desolate region on a road that leads to the Indian border where the Chinese wear their militarty presence "on their shoulder" as it were is unlikely to be anything innocent.

Here is an image of Shanzong village on the same road. This looks like a village and the building sizes are more in keeping with what one woud expect of a village
From the images, it looks like it is a livestock dwelling for the village nearby. This itself does not seem to have many houses. Look at the brown boxes. Those are probably fenced out livestock housing areas, with a few sheds (I can see only three) to house shepherds.
 

natarajan

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They are having such infra in occupied territories but our conki is busy dismantling even the sheds available for soldiers
 

bennedose

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I have a few more posts to make regarding Chinese roads and infra in Aksai Chin. For clarity and to serve as a recap I will re-post the obverview map that I posted earlier (It helps me sort things out in my mind)

The overview map below shows Aksai Chin with the G 219 ias a thick blue line. Branch roads from the G 219 highway that go towards India are numbered from 1 through 8. In earlier posts I have described what can be found along and at the end of roads 3 and 4 leading to the DBO area. Next I wrote about roads 7 and 8 going towards Pangong and Spangur lakes in the Chushul area.

Lastly I wrote about roads 5 and 6 going to the 'mid Aksai Chin region"

If you look at the map carefully, road number 2 in the north east corner of Aksai Chin is magenta in colour. I have labelled and marked it separately because it seems to be a special area with no road connections to the LAC but has structures that seem to be militarily important. Will post details ina subsequent post. Overview map below

 

Ray

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Looking forward to your analysis.
 

bennedose

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The image below is a close up of the north east Aksai chin area with the road branch from the G 219 that is magenta in colour. These roads do not extend up to the LAC.

Below is a kmz file with all the landmarks that I could locate for those who would like to explore it themselves using Google earth. And after that is an overview map of the roads of Northeast Aksai Chin"
kmz file: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bQm1zaDNla0tsQzQ/edit?usp=sharing
Overview image: Close to the G219 is a large civilian structure and a slamm branch road that appears to lead to a min

Further down the road is a branch that leads to a white bordered area that I have marked as "tunnel complex area'. That area is full of tunnels and looks highly suspicious. Details in subsequent posts:
 
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bennedose

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Below is an enlargement of the area that I have labelled as "tunnel complex area". It is a 2.5 x 1.2 km zone with many zig zag roads and many roads with a blind ending that appears to be entering a mountainside tunnel. Below are three images. The first is an overview of the area and the other two are close ups of roads leading to tunnels.

Unlike another area that looks like a mine (to be described later) - this area has very litle vehicular activity but more blind end roads leading into tunnels. There is at least obe buidling that looks like a reinforced concrete bomb proof shelter

Click on images to see larger pic


1. Overview of the tunnel area




The next two pictures show roads that end in tunnel entrances


 
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bennedose

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Very close to the G 219 is a structure under constrcution in 2010 when the image was taken. It looks like a lorry terminus possibly for the nearby mines

Click on images to see a bigger one



Nearby is an area that appears to have lot of vehicular activity. I think these are mines. of course mines are the ideal area to hide one set of military tunnels with missiles. So you can never be sure..
 

bennedose

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Mopping up with the last few posts before I can summarize everything (possibly as an article).

The image below is of all the airfields I found and their distances from the LAC in Aksai Chin. The airfields that are closest to the LAC in Aksai Chin are all in Xinjiang. The closest is 270 km away and others are progresively further as marked. Each of these airfields is situated at relatively low altitudes (1000 to 1300 meters) but one needs to recall that Jaguars could barely take off with a full load from Bangalore at 1000 meters altitude so 1300 meters in summer could pose restrictions. The Tibet airfields in the east are over 1200 km away and each is at an altitude of over 3000 meters - a height that is sure to restrict fuel or payload or both. At best aircraft might take off with a near full load and little fuel and be refuelled.

For an intense air war to be fought over Aksai Chin the Chinese would require more airfields closer to Aksai Chin, but altitude is still a problem. Either they don't have them or I have not been able to find them.

kmz: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bWnZMMXZpR0J6ZTg/edit?usp=sharing
Click on image for larger size/full size
 

bennedose

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Below is a kmz file of all the Chinese bridges that I found in the Aksai Chin area. Most of the bridges seem to be concentrated in the roads leading to the DBO/Depsang plain area. This is probably because this is the only area with the major river (Kizil Jilga?) to be crossed. In other areas a lot of streams are simply crosed without a bridge or, in many cases small ditches have been bridged by short bridges that are usually called "culverts" in India.

Most of the roads seem like tracks rather than tarrred roads because they generally take on the same colour as the surrounding terrain and sometimes vanish over areas where water flow is evident. Many areas have parallel tracks that vehicles seem to take on occasion. All the roads leading from the G 219 to the LAC have these features sugesting that they are not all weather roads and have a well prepared surface only in specific areas.

The bridges would be weak points whoise destruction would impede trafic flow - whether they be Chinese forces going towards the LAC or Indian forces across the LAC. The bridges would seem like temping targets to be taken out by special forces ops.

kmz of bridges: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bSnBwSzdIN3BUY28/edit?usp=sharing

Location of bridges on road to DBO area (Click on image to see a bigger one)
 

bennedose

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A Brief History of how the Chinese Occupied Aksai Chin

When Nehru lied in Parliament » Indian Defence Review

When Nehru lied in Parliament
By Claude Arpi
Issue Net Edition | Date : 25 Jun , 2013

On October 6, 1957, a Chinese newspaper Kuang-ming Jih-pao reported:

The Sinkiang-Tibet – the highest highway in the world – has been completed. During the past few days, a number of trucks running on the highway on a trial basis have arrived in Ko-ta-k'e in Tibet from Yehch'eng in Sinkiang. The Sinkiang-Tibet Highway"¦ is 1179 km long, of which 915 km are more than 4,000 meters above sea level; 130 km of it over 5,000 meters above sea level, with the highest point being 5,500 meters.

Thirty ('liberation' model and Chissu 150) heavy-duty trucks, fully loaded with road builders, maintenance equipment and fuels, running on the highway on a trial basis, headed for Ko-ta-k'e from Yehch'eng. In addition two trucks fully loaded with Hami melons, apples and pomegranates, all native products of Sinkiang, headed in the same direction. These fruits were gifts brought specially by the road builders of Sinkiang for the people of various nationalities.

The Aksai road was opened. It took nearly two more years for the news to become public in India.

Nehru answered"¦: "my reaction is that we should send a reconnoitering party there in spring with clear instructions that they should not come into conflict with the Chinese. I do not think it is desirable to have air reconnaissance"¦"

It was only in August 1959 that Nehru dropped the bombshell in Parliament: what the Chinese called the 'Tibet-Sinkiang highway' was built through the Indian territory.

The Prime Minster must have known since several years, but he had kept the information secret.

Five months after the road was opened (on February 3, 1958), Subimal Dutt, the Indian Foreign Secretary wrote to Nehru: "there seemed little doubt that the newly constructed 1,200 kilometre road connecting Gartok in Western Tibet with Yeh in Sinkiang passes through Aksai Chin."

Dutt informed the Prime Minister that he agreed with Joint Secretary B.K Acharya's suggestion of sending a reconnoitering party in the coming spring to find out if the road passed through Aksai Chin.

Dutt added: "However, if the Chinese opposed, the party could come back and the matter could be taken diplomatically." [unfortunately for the South Block's babus, the reconnoitering party was captured and several Indian jawans were killed.]

Dutt requested for a meeting to discuss the matter with Nehru, Acharya and K. Gopalachari, the Deputy Director of the Historical Division of the Ministry.

Here is Nehru's answer (On February 4, 1958) recently published in the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru (Series II, Volume 41):

I shall gladly discuss this matter with you, JS and Gopalachari. Meanwhile, my reaction is that we should send a reconnoitering party there in spring with clear instructions that they should not come into conflict with the Chinese. I do not think it is desirable to have air reconnaissance. In fact, I do not see what good this can do us. Even a land reconnaissance will not perhaps be very helpful.' However, it may bring some further facts to our notice.

2. I do not see how we can possibly protest about the alignment of the road without being much surer than we are. What we might perhaps do is that in some communication with the Chinese Government in regard to the points of dispute which have to be decided, we should mention the Aksai Chin area.

3. It is suggested that our maps should be sent to the Chinese. Certainly they can be sent through our Embassy. But I think it would be better to do this rather informally.

The Indian territory had been occupied and the Prime Minister wanted to remain informal about it.

What to say?

The Indian territory had been occupied and the Prime Minister wanted to remain informal about it.

The saga continued on October 18, 1958. The Indian Foreign Secretary (Dutt) handed over an 'Informal Note' to the Chinese Ambassador in Delhi.

Here is the entire note:

The attention of the Government of India has recently been drawn to the fact that a motor road has been constructed by the Government of the People's Republic of China across the eastern part of the Ladakh region of the Jammu Kashmir States, which is part of India. This road seems to form part of the Chinese road known as Yehchang –Gartok or Sikiang Tibet highway, the completion of which was announced in September, 1957.

The road enters Indian territory just east of Sarigh Jilgnang, runs north-west to Amtogar and striking the western bank of the Amtogar lake runs north-west through Yangpa, Khitai Dawan and Haji Langer which are all in indisputable Indian territory. Near the Amtogar Lake several branch tracks have also been made motorable.

2. The India-China boundary in the Ladakh sector as in others is traditionally well-known and follows well marked geographical features. The territory which road traverses has been part of the Ladakh region of India for centuries and the "old established frontiers' have been accepted by the Chinese in the treaty of 1842 as the International boundary. In an official communication, a Chinese member of the Boundary Commission of 1847-49 accepted the boundary as 'sufficiently and distinctly fixed so that it will be best to adhere to this ancient arrangement and it will prove far more convenient to abstain from any additional measures for fixing them'. Accordingly, Indian survey parties have visited the region since the nineteenth century. Travellers to the area have referred to it as part of Ladakh, and Atlases like the Johnston's Atlas of India, edition 1894, and maps published by the Survey of India show it unmistakably as part of Ladakh.

Click to buy

3. In view of the position indicated in para.2 above, it is matter of surprise and regrets that the Chinese Government should have constructed a road through indisputably Indian territory without first obtaining the permission of the Government of India and without even informing the Government of India.

4. The Government of India would like to point out that Chinese personnel, including officials and workers engaged in constructing and maintaining the road, as well as Chinese travellers traversing this road have been contravening Article V of the Agreement between the People's Republic of China and India on trade and Intercourse with Tibet concluded in 1954.

According to this article "for travelling across the border, the High Contracting Parties agree that diplomatic personnel, officials and nationals of the two countries shall hold passports issued by their own respective countries and visaed by the other party" except as provided in the subsequent paragraphs of the Article relating to traders, pilgrims and muleteers. No applications for visas from Chinese personnel working on the road or from Chinese travellers traversing this road have ever been received by the Government of India.

But there is worse, Prime Minister Nehru lied in the Parliament when the issue came up in April 1959.

5. As the Chinese Government are aware, the Government of India are anxious to settle these petty frontier disputes so that the friendly relations between the two countries may not suffer. The Government of India would therefore be glad for an early reply from the Tibetan Government.

6. In this connection the Government of India would also like to draw the attention of the Chinese Government to another fact. An Indian party consisting of three Military Officers and four soldiers together with one guide, one porter, six pony–owners and thirty-four ponies, were out on a normal patrol in this area near Shinglung in Indian territory. This patrol had been given strict instructions not to cross the border into Chinese territory. Since the end of August, however, no news of their whereabouts has been received in spite of search by air. Since there are now Chinese personnel in this part of Indian territory the Government of India would be grateful for any information that the Chinese Government may have about the party and for any assistance that they may find it possible to give to the party to return to their headquarters.

It was a matter of 'surprise and regrets' that a road was constructed on Indian territory with India's permission and knowledge!

To make their case worse, the Chinese workers (building the road) did not have proper visas issued by Delhi on their travel documents!

No good!

But magnanimous India was to ready to 'settle these petty frontier disputes so that the friendly relations between the two countries may not suffer'.

Let us not forget that the Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai era was still flourishing!

But there is worse, Prime Minister Nehru lied in the Parliament when the issue came up in April 1959.

""¦We have discussed one or two minor frontier disputes which comprise tiny tracts of territory, maybe a mile this way or a mile that way, in the high mountains where nobody lives and those are pending"¦"

A 'Reply to Questions' session was held in the Lok Sabha on April 22, 1959 (Lok Sabha Debates, Second Series, Vol. XXX, cols 12715-12721).

The topic was 'Maps Published in China and Russia'

The questions were: Will the Prime Minister be pleased to state:

(a) whether Government are aware of the fact that maps recently published in China and Russia show large chunks of our territory as part of their territories; (b) if so, the action taken by Government of India in the matter?Lakshmi Menon, the Deputy Minister of External Affairs answered: "Yes, Sir; Instances of maps, published in China and Russia, depicting certain parts of Indian territory as parts of China, have come to our notice. The attention of these two Governments has already been drawn to the discrepancies."

The debate continued for some time on the maps and then, a Congress MP, D.C. Sharma asked: "May I know if there is any dispute about any border territory or any kind of territory between China and India and, if not, why is it that some parts of India which are obviously in India have been shown as parts of China?"

The Prime Minister answered:

It is rather difficult for me to answer that question. We have discussed one or two minor frontier disputes which comprise tiny tracts of territory, maybe a mile this way or a mile that way, in the high mountains where nobody lives and those are pending. We have discussed them and for the present no settlement has been arrived at.

Later C.D. Pande, the Congress MP from Nainital, UP (now Uttarakhand) brought the subject again: "Apart from the maps, because after all, the question of the maps is academic, may I know whether there are certain portions of land between India and Tibet where they are encroaching on the basis of these maps — encroaching into our territory,-particularly in Taklakot which is near the border of Almora? At Taklakot they have come six miles this way, according to their map. It is not a question of map alone. They have actually encroached on our territory; six miles in one pass."

Jawaharlal Nehru said:

I should like to give a precise answer to such questions. I would not like to venture to give an imprecise answer. Taklakot [trijunction Nepal-Tibet-India in Pithoragarh district of today's Uttarakhand] and another place – Hoti [Barahoti in Uttarakhand] – have been places under argument and sometimes, according to our reports we have received, some Chinese have advanced a mile or two, maybe, in high mountains. It is true. We have been enquiring into it. The difficulty is that in the winter months most of these places are almost inaccessible and more inaccessible from our side than from the other side.

The Prime Minister deliberately omitted to mention the Aksai Chin.

Later another MP, Braj Raj Singh queried: "May I know whether Government's attention has been drawn to the news item published in several papers alleging that the Chinese have claimed some 30,000 sq. m. of our territory and they have also disputed the MacMahon line?" This was clearly related to the Aksai Chin and the MP adds 'and also the McMahon line' (Eastern Sector).

Nehru answer:

No, Sir; I would suggest to Hon. Members not to pay much attention to news items emanating sometimes from Hong Kong and sometimes from other odd places. We have had no such claim directly or indirectly made on us.

The Prime Minister deliberately omitted to mention the Aksai Chin.

Did he believe that he would settle the issue in a friendly manner with Mao or Zhou Enlai?

It is difficult to understand his reasoning.

On September 7, 1959, a month after the bombshell, the Ministry of External Affairs published its first White Paper in which the issue of the Aksai Chin is prominently mentioned.
 

natarajan

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so india is just sleeping ,thats the conclusion we can arrive from this thread,when they are building such infra then why are crying for our sheds in indian side
 

bennedose

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so india is just sleeping ,thats the conclusion we can arrive from this thread,when they are building such infra then why are crying for our sheds in indian side
Actually the intention of this thread was to see how much the Chinese have done and what they are capable of doing. I did not study the Indian side at all - let some Chinese do that - that will be their job LOL! Our job is to see what the Chinese are up to.

Will post an analysis in due course..
 

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