'China has captured Indian land', reiterates Rahul Gandhi amid Beijing's map claiming territory

Satellite data shows China digging tunnels and bunkers for soldiers

PTI08_25_2023_000123B Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Khree Sultan Cho Sport Stadium in Kargil | PTI

A month after he first claimed China did grab Indian land near LAC, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday reiterated his stance, saying "the entire Ladakh knows that China has transgressed."

His statement comes as Beijing released an official "standard map" showing the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin plateau as its official territory.  "I have been saying this for many years. I have just returned from Ladakh. What the Prime Minister has said...that not an inch of land has been invaded..it is totally false," he told reporters at Delhi airport.

"The question of the map is a very serious one. But they (China) have captured our land. The Prime Minister should also speak on this issue," he told ANI. 

Rahul, during his recent visit to Ladakh, claimed that China has taken away India’s land and people are not allowed to graze their cattle there. "Here the people say that Chinese forces entered and their grazing land has been taken away, and (now) they can’t go there. People are clearly telling here. Prime Minister says that not an inch of land taken away, which is not correct…. ask anyone here and they will tell you," he told reporters after paying tributes to his late father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary days ago.

Meanwhile, reports claim Beijing is building tunnels and reinforced bunkers for soldiers and weaponry in Aksai Chin. These reports, based on satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies, added that the area where China is scaling up construction is located about 70km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC). 

India has long claimed rights over the territory but it is held by China.

According to satellite images accessed by Hindustan Times, the construction seems to have started post-2021. The satellite images show personnel bunkers designed to protect soldiers from aerial attacks. Earth-moving machinery, new roads and multiple entrances for the tunnels are also visible in the images.

"Analysts believe the underground facilities are meant to protect sensitive equipment, ammunition and command posts from air or missile strikes during potential hostilities," added the Hindustan Times report.  

India on Tuesday registered a strong protest against China's 2023 edition of its "standard map" that claimed Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai China as its territory. The "map" also incorporated China’s claims over the estranged island of Taiwan and the nine-dash line claiming a large part of the South China Sea.

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