China building its second underground facility in Tibet near India border

Satellite image showing  China’s UGF construction in Tibet.  Image: ThePrint

DHARAMSALA, Jan 19: China is building an underground facility (UGF) for its troops stationed in occupied Tibet near Ngari in the traditional Tibetan province of U-Tsang.

The People’s Liberation Army(PLA) has constructed an underground facility (UGF) barely 50 km from the India-China border, and just 60 km from the Indian forward posts at Demchok in Ladakh, ThePrint reported.

The new UGF near Ngari is PLA’s second in Tibet. While China’s existing UGF near Uighur poses no danger to China, the one being constructed now is a course of concern for India as it stands just about 60 km away from the Indian Army’s forward posts at Demchok in Ladakh, the report added.

The report further stated that the slow speed of construction indicates that special personnel are being used instead of locals, clearly in order to maintain secrecy and security of the facility.

It is understood that construction of this UGF began in December 2016, about six months before the Doklam standoff near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in the east.

Satellite images have captured the PLA’s construction of the UGF 50 km from India, although it is difficult to indicate the exact purpose of this facility with such low temporal resolution, the report noted that it can be assumed that it may be used for storage of missiles and/or ammunition on wheels.

Additionally, China is reported to have equipped its border troops with a new lightweight tank, the Type-15, which has better mobility than other tanks used by the PLA to strengthen combat readiness in plateau regions such as Tibet at the tail end of last year while PLA stationed in Tibet were equipped with new vehicle-mounted howitzers to boost their high-altitude combat capability earlier this month.

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