HomeIndia China Border StandoffExclusive: Tawang was no Galwan. Satellite pics show

Exclusive: Tawang was no Galwan. Satellite pics show

Source : India Today


Exclusive: Tawang was no Galwan. Satellite pics show
Representative Image



In June 2020, when brutal hand-to-hand combat took place between the Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan valley, one thing was clear, Indian men were outnumbered owing to an ongoing de-escalation on the day and location of the conflict. Come December 2022 in Arunachal Pradesh, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) men were in for a surprise.


High Resolution satellite pictures, exclusively captured on the day of the clashes, tell a different story, where the intruding PLA party was likely met with a sizeable Indian presence in the area spread over multiple forward locations.

Pictures exclusively sourced by India Today captured by space firm Planet Labs PBC satellites passing over the LAC near the Yangtse area in Tawang on December 9 show the buildup near the possible location of the clashes in which both sides sustained injuries.

Likely Indian deployment in the area (Image Credit: Planet Labs PBC/ India Today)
Likely Indian deployment in the area (Image Credit: Planet Labs PBC/India Today)


Defence minister Rajnath Singh clarified before the parliament today that no Indian soldier was seriously injured in the physical brawl as they successfully chased away the Chinese soldiers.


β€œOn 9 December 2022, PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in the Yangtse area of Tawang sector and unilaterally change the status quo. The Chinese attempt was contested by our troops in a firm and resolute manner,” Singh said in a statement.


In the vicinity towards the east are the snowcapped strategic high peeks that go as high as 17,000 ft that many believe the PLA wants to take control of. These uninhabited high points provide a vantage point to monitor the developments towards the Tawang side of India.


Chinese road in the area (Image Credit: Planet Labs PBC/ India Today)
Chinese road in the area (Image Credit: Planet Labs PBC/India Today)


China has been expanding its military village north of the LAC and continues to be upgraded constantly. A new wider road leading towards the LAC and ending with a post-like location near Thang La can be seen but did not show a Galwan-like overwhelming presence of Chinese military vehicles and encampments seen in June 2020.


While India continues to have a permanent position near this location, new forward deployments, likely anticipating PLA intrusions, can also be seen in the available imagery.


Chinese village in the area (Image Credit: Planet Labs PBC/ India Today)
Chinese village in the area (Image Credit: Planet Labs PBC/India Today)


The government said that the timely intervention of Indian military commanders made sure that PLA soldiers went back to their locations. β€œAs a follow-up of the incident, the local commander in the area held a Flag Meeting with his counterpart on 11 December, 2022 to discuss the issue in accordance with established mechanisms. The Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquility along the border. The issue has also been taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels,” the defence minister added.

It is yet to be seen if there will be a larger build up by the PLA in coming days in the area.

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