Monday, June 17, 2013

DF-31 missiles near Aksai Chin

About 50 km north of Aksai Chin, but in Xinjiang is a large Chinese military base that shows at least two trucks carrying DF-31 missiles

This is the location as a kmz file

Here is an image of those trucks

Google earth kmz file of ALL Chinese roads, tunnels and military extablishments in the Aksai Chin region

OK folks, its done. It took me a while but the following is the link to a Google earth community post with a kmz file marking all roads, military posts and tunnels that I could find in the Aksai Chin region. Lots of things to say but I can only do it one by one, slowly. This file will serve as reference. Sorry about the silly road names and markers.!topic/gec-member-centric-locations/som2Lmm9dU0

Maybe I wil also upload the file elsewhere on a Google drive share in due course.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chinese roads and military presence adjacent to Chushul

The overview map below indicates the location of names like Chushul, Leh and Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO). Aksai Chin is the "right horn" of J&K that the Chinese bit off in 1962. "Bit off" may be an inappropriate expression because the Chinese built their road via Aksai Chin (now marked as the G 219 highway in blue) in 1958 and if the Indian leaders found out they could not or did not do anything about it. Aksai Chin itself was thinly defended. The current LAC (Line of Actual Control) is marked in red. DBO is situated near the north of the LAC. Chushul is towards the south. In this post I will concentrate on the area within the black square in the map containing the names "Chushul" and "Spangur lake". These areas saw intense action in 1962 and Indian forces were pushed back to their current positions. But it is the layout of the Chinese roads and infrastructure that I will concentrate on in this post.

The map below is an enlargement of the area around Chushul. Chushul was the site of an airstrip (marked) which was in the news recently. It was apparently decided that the airstrip was not reactivated because of its proximity to Chinese positions. That seems to make sense makes sense because the airstrip is about 1.5 km from the LAC and 7 km from a prominent Chinese military position that is marked by a Chinese flag visible from the air on Google Earth satellite images.

Chushul, situated at 4,400 meters high lies about 13 km west of a Himalayan lake called Spangur lake or Spangur tso. India was in control of the western half of the lake till 1962 after which Indian forces were pushed westwards almost up to Chushul in some of the most intense fighting in the 1962 Indo-China war. 

To the north of Spangur lake is a much larger lake called the Pangong lake. The LAC runs though Panging lake leaving much of it within Indian territory, whereas all of Spangur lake is in Chinese control.

The Chinese have roads that run right up to the LAC situated to the north of Pangong lake and to the south of Spangur lake. Funnily enough the area between these two lakes occupied by mountains as high as 6000 meters does not appear to have much by way of infrastructure. The Chinese seem to prefer to end a "dead end" road at the LAC wiith a loop for vehicles to loop around and that is exactly what they have done with the road that ends at the LAC just on the north bank of Pangong lake.

There is a road running through the mountains from military positions south of Spangur lake up to the LAC  close to the southern bank of Pangong lake. I have marked this road as "insane zig zag road" because a 6 kilometer stretch of road has 106 hairpin bends probably making the actual distance over 30 km and unfriendly to heavy vehicular movement.

But all in all the Chinese maintain a strong military presence in the entire area adjacent to Chushul at the LAC, with roads right up to the LAC both north and south of Pangong and Spangur lakes.

Logistics in this area cannot be easy. The two major road links north of Pangong and South of Spangur do not have any way of linking up with each other each of these roads make their own separate ways to the east, running approximately parallel to each other to join up separately with the G 219 that is situated about 100 km away as the crow flies. But the actual driving distance may be one and a half times or more longer because of curves in the road not accounted for in the blue lines on the map.

Below is the picture of a Chinese military position at  33°33'54.68"N longitude and  78°47'52.53"E latitude showing the Chinese flag from a simulated altitude of about 4 km from the ground. The base itself is situated 7 km east of Chushul airstrip at an altitude of 4300 meters.