China has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with plateau operations capabilities and plans to deploy it at Line of Actual Control with India in Kailash mountain range, sources said. The UAV has been developed in Shaanxi and completed its first flying and control task at Gar Gunsa in Tibet Autonomous Region, the sources said.
The flight was undertaken by the Hailan Aviation team. “The UAV took off from an elevation of 4,700 metre — Baga Township — and completed its task of patrolling, control and search operation in the Kailash mountain region,” said the source. The Kailash mountain range originates from the southern bank of Pangong Tso and runs northwest to southeast for over 60 km. It had been contested by India and China after the border dispute started in May last year.
The Kailash Ridge is characterized by rugged, broken terrain with heights varying between 4,000-5,500m. The ridge’s key features include Gurung Hill, Spanggur Gap, Muggar Hill, Mukhpari, Helmet Top, Rezang La and Rechin La. It dominates Chushul Bowl — an important communications centre.
Last year, after the border dispute at the northern bank of Pangong Tso in Eastern Ladakh, China made an attempt to take over Kailash mountain range on the night of August 29 and August 30, 2020. Indian Army thwarted Chinese People’s Liberation Army attempt and took control over most of the hills in the Kailash range.
Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen their positions and thwarted Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground, Indian Army had stated. This exposed Chinese deployment of its forces in Moldo.
In February this year, India and China started disengagement at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Lake at Line of Actual Control. The disengagement happened after several rounds of military and diplomatic talks. As per agreement, Indian troops vacated the mountain hills in Southern bank of Pangong Lake.
China moved back to Finger 8 and Indian troops pulled back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger 2 and 3. The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 Fingers. The mountain spur jutting into the lake are referred to as Finger in military parlance. India claims Line of Actual Control at Finger 8 and had been holding on to the area till Finger 4 but in a clear alteration of status quo the Chinese have been camping at Finger 4 and have set up fortifications between Finger 5 and 8. Since then Indian and Chinese military have met twice to resolve border disputes at other friction areas like Hot Springs, Gogra and 900 square km Depsang plains.
Amid this, China has again started enhancing troops, artillery and armour deployment in three sectors of Line of Actual Control — western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal). The Indian forces are keeping a close watch on Chinese activities at LAC.