China sets up new village ‘Pangda’ near Doklam

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New Delhi: Five years after the Doklam standoff, a fully inhabited new village named Pangda, barely nine km East of the Flash Point area, has emerged as the latest evidence of China’s expansionist policy.

The Chinese have given it the name Pangda because in the Bhutanese region it is called Chaukor. India and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) armies had a 73-day face-off in Doklam in 2017 over the construction of a road near Bhutanese territory. The Doklam tri-junction is considered important from the point of view of India’s security interests.

Frustrated by being badly hurt by India in eastern Ladakh, China is now trying to spread its wings along other areas of the LAC. China’s expansionist activities are increasing in Arunachal Pradesh as well as in Doklam and Bhutan. Satellite images have revealed that five years after the Doklam standoff, a new village named Pangda has been established, barely 9 km east of the flash point area.

Satellite photos show that the village is not only fully inhabited, but most of the houses have cars parked in front of them. Apart from this, there is an ‘all-weather carriage-way close to the village, which is 10 km away in Bhutan on the banks of the Amo Chu River.

Reports indicate that the emergence of Pangda village as a fully populated village is a return to the Doklam crisis of 2017 when Indian and Chinese troops were at each other for 73 days. At that time, Indian troops prevented Chinese workers from reaching the Jhamphiri Ridge, a strategic area adjoining the Doklam plateau. After the withdrawal of the Indian Army from here, China left the disputed site and made a road from the other side to the Jhamphiri Ridge in South Doklam, a disputed mountainous area that is claimed by both China and Bhutan. India supports Bhutan’s claim on Doklam.

Damien Simon, a geospatial intelligence researcher at The Intel Lab, is quoted as saying that this ridge will give the PLA a ‘direct line-of-sight for the Siliguri corridor, or ‘Chicken Neck’, that connects the Northeast to the rest of India. Also using the Jhamphiri Ridge, the Chinese PLA wants to go around the defense of the Indian Army using an alternate route. The latest satellite images from satellite imaging service Maxar show a fully constructed bridge in Pangda village and the foundations of six buildings here. This has exposed China’s all-weather road construction activity in the isolated region, as well as seamless connectivity to new remote residences.

Doklam is a tri-junction where the borders of India, China, and Bhutan meet. India’s concern about this area is that China is changing the tri-junction unilaterally. Apart from this, China has settled an entire village in the eastern sector of the LAC, 4.5 km from the border of Arunachal Pradesh. There are 100 houses in this village.

This has been said in the annual report of the US Department of Defense. The US Defense Department has said in its recent report that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has built 100 houses in the disputed area between India and China. This area is between the Tibet Autonomous Region of the PRC and Arunachal Pradesh. China has covered 100 sq km of Bhutan within a year. Four new villages have been established in the area.

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