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1 June – CHINESE SURVEILLANCE NEAR KAILASH RANGE

While India and China have pulled back their tanks and heavy deployment of ground troops from all locations south of Pangong Lake falling in the Kailash Range in February but there still has been no de-escalation across Eastern Ladakh.

According to intelligence reports, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) intended to be used for surveillance on Indian positions close to the Kailash Range has been developed in Shaanxi and completed its first flying and control task at Gar Gunsa in Tibet Autonomous Region.

The flight was undertaken by the Hailan Aviation team. The UAV took off from an elevation of 4700 m at Baga Township and completed its task of patrolling, control and search operation in the Kailash mountain region.

The Kailash mountain range became a highly contested zone in 2020 in August when the Indian Army occupied certain crucial heights overlooking Chinese positions including their Moldo Garrison. This was done to counter China’s incursions at the northern bank of the lake.

In 2020, China had also carried out tests for unmanned helicopters. But this one is a winged UAV, that has been to trials specifically for the rugged terrain of the Kailash Ridge to pick up all movements.

The Kailash Ridge is high altitude terrain. The critical features on the ridge Gurung Hill, Spanggur Gap, Muggar Hill, Mukhpari, Helmet Top, Rezang La and Rechin La.

The disengagement process

The disengagement process between India and China in eastern Ladakh was completed in February in Pangong Tso.

The two sides pulled back their tanks and heavy deployment of ground troops from all locations falling in the Kailash range but there still has been no signs of de-escalation across eastern Ladakh.

The Chinese Army has also reinforced its presence in eastern Ladakh depth areas with permanent accommodations and depots.

The military standoff between India and China began in May last year. While there has been an initial disengagement in Ladakh at the Pangong Lake, other friction points in the region’s eastern parts remain unsolved as tensions continue between the Indian Army and the PLA.

There have been 11 rounds of Corps Commander level talks with some degree of success, though discussions to resolve friction points like Gogra, Hot Spring and Depsang did not yield any results.

Warnings have been sounded that China is enhancing its infrastructure near the borders, not just in Ladakh but other sectors as well. The presence of the PLA in training areas near Ladakh in large numbers has also been reported.

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