South China Sea: Beijing makes strategic territory claims using Himalayas

South China Sea: More ‘confrontation’ to come predicts expert

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China has been caught constructing new roads and military outposts in strategic points near the country’s disputed border with India. Images captured by satellites show Beijing has embarked on massive infrastructure projects within the Himalayas including in Tibet and neighbouring Bhutan. China’s move to extend sovereignty over the mountainous and remote region has sparked concerns that Beijing is looking to gain an advantage while India is distracted combating a new wave of coronavirus. 

WION newsreader Palki Sharma said: “India is grappling with the Wuhan virus. China is capitalising on India’s crisis.

“It has wrapped up construction of a strategic highway in Tibet. A highway that is very close to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

“This highway has been under construction for seven years now. China has spent 310 million dollars on this project.

“It passes through a grand canyon of the river Brahmaputra, on the Tibetan side. This highway will improve China’s access to remote areas on the disputed border with Arunachal Pradesh.”

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The newsreader continued: “And while China picks up arms over India’s road construction in Ladakh, it continues to build such strategic assets along the Indian border. This highway is just a small component of China’s grand plan for Tibet.

“Xi Jinping has ordered a major infrastructure push. It involves building roads, highways, villages and military outposts.”

Satellite images have released evidence of at least three villages constructed by China inside the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. 

The majority of these settlements appear to be occupied with communist party headquarters and military outposts, as well as power stations and warehouses.

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“All of this has been built in the far north of Bhutan,” added MS Sharma.

“China claims that these are areas that are part of Tibet.

“China is taking its South China Sea strategy to the Himalayas. It is building structures to claim disputed territory. In the South China Sea, it fortified and armed shoals claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.

“Now, it has built a highway near Arunachal Pradesh and villages in Bhutan. China wants to do more such construction work along the Tibetan border.”

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[INSIGHT] 

India and China came close to an all-out war last year when the Indian Army occupied strategic Himalayan heights in late August.

Months prior tensions between the two nuclear-armed states erupted after border clashes in the disputed Galwan Valley which saw 20 Indian soldiers killed alongside at least four Chinese troops.

Multiple rounds of negotiations between India and China have taken place at both military and diplomatic levels. However, talks so far have failed to resolve the ongoing standoff at the disputed border.

The hand-to-hand fighting seen last year was the most serious open confrontation between the two neighbours in more than half a century.

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