Satellite images show China digging tunnels, building bunkers for troops in Aksai Chintext_fields
Amidst growing protests over China's "standard map" that claims sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin region, recent satellite images have revealed that Beijing is building tunnels and reinforced bunkers for soldiers and weaponry in Aksai Chin.
The construction activity is concentrated about 70 kilometres away from the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Despite India's long-claimed rights over the territory, China currently maintains control over it, as shown by satellite images, reports the Hindustan Times.
These constructions appear to have commenced after 2021. Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies display personnel bunkers designed to offer protection to soldiers against potential aerial attacks.
The images also reveal the presence of earth-moving machinery, new roads, and multiple entrances for the constructed tunnels.
Analysts believe the underground facilities are meant to protect sensitive equipment, ammunition and command posts from air or missile strikes during potential hostilities," added the Hindustan Times report.
This comes as India registered a strong protest against China's 2023 edition of its "standard map" that claimed Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai China as its territory.
The "map" also incorporated China’s claims over the estranged island of Taiwan and the nine-dash line claiming a large part of the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, Tibetan Parliament-in-exile MPs have hit out at China's expansionist policy, stating that the country “can never be trusted”.
Dawa Tsering MP said China is nobody's friend. "China always says that it wants friendship with you but China’s malice is concealed behind its sweet talk. Never trust China and its leaders, because they can never be anybody’s friends," Tsering said, according to a report by ANI. "All South Asian countries to stand against the Chinese expansionist policy. It has to be condemned."
Another Tibetan MP in exile, Yeshi Dolma too called China's act "provocative". She said that China wants to provoke India ahead of the G20 Summit next month.
"China illegally invaded Tibet in 1959, and now it is trying to encroach the border of neighbouring country India," Dolma said, as quoted by ANI.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar rejected China's "standard map" on Tuesday, stating that Beijing had even put out such maps in the past claiming territories that are not theirs and that it is "an old habit" of China.
"China has even in the past put out maps which claimed the territories which are not China's, which belong to other countries. This is an old habit of theirs," Jaishankar said. He made the comments while replying to a question on the 'map' at an event hosted by the NDTV.
"It is not something which is new. It started in the 1950s. So just by putting out a map claiming territories some of which are part of India.. I think this doesn't change (anything). These are very much part of India," he said.
"We are very clear what our territories are. This government is very clear about what we need to do to defend our territory. You can see that on our borders. I think there should be no doubt about that," Jaishankar said.
"Just making absurd claims does not make other people's territories yours. Let's be very clear on that," he added.