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Pangong Tso Dispute: Know about India's new boats to counter China and the standoff details here

Tulika Tandon

Why in News?

China was reported to have launched six Type-928D assault boats in Pangong Tso lake. Each boat is capable of carrying at least ten soldiers with weapons along with him. The boats are close to the Line of Actual Control and should be a reason for concern for the Indian military.

India’s response

India would launch steel hull boats to counter the Chinese activities within the waters of Pangong Tso lake.

As China has been aggressively patrolling the area and has been ramming its boats to Indian boats the army has taken help from Indian navy to deal with the inland water military action. 

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Features of the new boat:

  1. The new boat would be more powerful than the ones being used currently 
  2. It would be longer in length and would be indigenously built
  3. The boat will have steel hull which will be able to withstand the ramming activity which the PLA has been resorting to in recent years
  4. The new boat is being built to be able to carry a platoon size troop count that is between 24 to 30 troops in one go

About Pangong Tso

  1. In the Ladakhi language, Pangong means extensive concavity, and Tso is a lake in Tibetan.
  2. Pangong Tso is located 14,000 feet above the sea level.
  3. The western end of the lake lies 54 km to the southeast of Leh. 
  4. This 135 km-long lake is spread over 604 sq km and is in the shape of a boomerang.  
  5. Out of this one third that is about 45 kilometres, is under the control of India.

 

The issue with China: 

  1. Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh has been a point of contention every now and then. Most famously it was known during the Doklam standoff when a video of kicking, fighting between Indo Chinese troops went viral. 
  2. Due to the dispute of Line of Actual Control the unilateral mobilization of China in the lake had to be countered. Thus India began patrolling until Finger 4 in Northern Bank of the Lake.  
  3. It was during this activity that Chinese troops started countering and ramming Indian boats in spite of them being in their own territory. It was also reported at many incidences that Chinese troops began patrolling till Finger 2 in the lake and rammed Indian boats too.
  4. India's claim is till the hill spur that is Finger 8 in actuality. The line of actual control as per India's claim is there. China, however, denies this and claims the land till Finger 2. Thus as soon as Indian troops cross beyond Finger 4 they are met with Chinese counterparts. 

What is the Line of Actual Control?

  1. The disputed boundary between India and China is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It has been divided into three sectors viz western, middle and eastern sectors. 
  2. The countries disagree on the exact location of the LAC. India claims that the LAC is 3,488 km long while China claims it to be around 2,000 km long.
  3. The LAC mostly passes on the land, but Pangong Tso is a unique case where it passes through the water as well. Even these points in the water are not mutually agreed upon by India and China. 

While the Pangong Lake has been among the most contentious sectors in the ongoing military standoff in eastern Ladakh for nearly four months now, the activity until now had been restricted to the northern bank.

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FAQ

Why is Pangong Tso lake salty?

Salts of the ocean come from the rocks present in and around it. Therefore, the lakes without rivers draining to the ocean end up salty as there is no way out for the salt

Can you swim in Pangong Tso lake?

Pangong Tso is a saltwater lake and it is not recommended to swim in it. No lake in Ladakh is allowed to swim by the government

Where is Pangong Tso?

The lake is located in Ladakh. One-third of the lake is located in India and two-third is located in China

Is Pangong Tso occupied by China?

Pangong Tso is in the disputed territory. LAC passes through the lake. A section of the lake almost 20 km east from the LAC is controlled by China but claimed by India.

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