The Chinese military is “firmly ensconced” in the Aksai Chin region and looks set to remain there, British think tank Chatham House has said.
The statement was part of a study titled “Are India and China Bound for Another Border Clash”. The study, published on June 2, was written by John Pollock and Damien Symon.
India considers Aksai Chin as part of the Union Territory of Ladakh, while China considers the plateau a part of its Xinjiang province and Tibet. Beijing currently controls 38,000 square kilometres of land in Aksai Chin that is claimed by India.
India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.
Chatham House said in its study that satellite images taken in the six months from October 2022 show a region increasingly in flux.
“Where once there were scattered [China’s People’s Liberation Army] checkpoints and rudimentary positions on the Chinese side of the poorly demarcated Line of Actual Control, now there is an established Chinese presence,” it said. “…The images show expanded roads, outposts and modern weatherproof camps equipped with parking areas, solar panels and even…