India having new trouble as China occupies North Doklam

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Last week the Indian Army chief Gen. Rawat claimed that PLA deployment is close to last year’s face-off point and hasn’t thinned down.

As after five long months India & China ended their tensed military face-off in the Himalayan region of Doklam the ThePrint show, accessed some satellite images of Beijing has almost completely taken control of the northern side of the disputed plateau. The new images depicts the concrete posts, seven helipads, new trenches and several dozen armoured vehicles close to the point where the Indian Army and the PLA troops were locked in a 72-day confrontation last year.

It came out when the Army chief General Bipin Rawat said that “China continues to have troops in North Doklam but also that the deployment had thinned down recently.”

And with the new satellite images China side is well entrenched in the area, with heavy road building machinery still present close to the stand-off point. These are first images that show the extent of the Chinese deployment at Doklam – and indicate a likely permanent PLA deployment, retaining the capability to construct the contested road at short notice.

TROOP STRENGTH

The PLA haven’t occupied in every inch but is in every nook and corner of the northern side of the plateau and the Google Earth imagery clearly shows a large number of troops and equipment in semi-permanent structures under camouflage.

There is one complete mechanised regiment of possibly ZBL-09 IFVs  or infantry fighting vehicles and also a strong possibility of another mechanised regiment under camouflage nets.

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In total, two regiments’ worth of tank transporters on the Doklam plateau where the two major parking areas have been observed for tank transporters of smaller size, suggesting their use for mechanised vehicle transport. A hundred large troop/equipment-carrying vehicles, or what the military calls ‘B-vehicles’.

There is a clear intention of pursuing the construction of the road beyond the contested point where four large bulldozers and four tippers have also been observed. To camouflage large troops have been kept under tents but certainly not good enough for satellite imagery not to spot them.

OBSERVATION TOWER

With a tall observatory tower with two storey high constructed with cement concrete less than 10 metres from the most forward trench occupied by the Indian Army. It can observe the entire Gnathang Valley from Kupup to Zuluk and the entire movement of the Indian Army beyond Kupup can also be very clearly observed by the PLA.

NEW POSTS

On every hillock on North Doklam plateau fighting posts have been created and it consist of double-layered communication trenches prepared for all round defence.

Many areas have been dug out for troops camouflaging but one of the dug-out areas is quite large, suggesting that the PLA will construct an extremely tall observation tower very soon.

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HELIPADS

Seven new helipads have been constructed with permanent cemented round bases where the diameter of the helipads is 25 metres, suggesting that the largest helicopters in the PLA inventory will be able to land here.

ROAD CONSTRUCTION

To cover the North Doklam plateau new roads have been constructed and work to extend is in progress while most of the roads have communication trenches running along them.

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