HP Police seek counter-espionage centre, posts in villages near Chinese border
China has accelerated infrastructure building along the Indian border in Himachal Pradesh’s tribal Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts, which share a 240km border with China, the HP Police said
With the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) increasing its activity in the China-occupied Tibetan Autonomous Region near the Ghungrangla pass in Kinnaur, the Himachal Pradesh Police have proposed that the government set up a counter-espionage centre at Chitkul village.
The HP Police has also suggested that police posts be set up in border villages such as Chitkul ( 11, 320 feet above sea level), Sumdoh, Chango and Namgia Namgia, which is the last Indian village along the Chinese border, and leads to Shipkila village in Chinese territory, which serves as the cross-border trading hub.
Accelerated Chinese development
China has accelerated infrastructure building along the Indian border in Himachal Pradesh’s tribal Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts, which share a 240km border with China — an 80km stretch between Chumar in Lahaul-Spiti and a 160km from Daroti to Mumri Dogri in Kinnaur after the Galwan Valley face off, in which 20 soldiers were killed two years ago.
There are nine passes along the international boundary between China and India. Of the nine passes, Baryog La and Lapcha La pass lie in Lahaul and Spiti district, while the other seven Shipki la, Rani Tso la, Keo Barang la, Khimkula, Yamrang la and Ghungrangla Pass stand on the junction of Kinnaur district, Uttarakhand and the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Security forces have reported increased Chinese activity along the international border, primarily the Ghungrangla pass. China has constructed a kilometre-long road up to Yamgrangla in its territory on the other end of the Ghungrangla pass.
“Tell-tale signs have been noticed along Ghungrangla pass. The Chinese came very close to the Indian border in September,” said director general of police Sanjay Kundu, who had, two months ago, submitted a confidential report on Chinese activity to governor Rajendra Arlekar.
“We are aware of the sensitivity of the matter, and have asked for a counter-espionage centre and police posts in the border villages,” the DGP said.
Breach in territory
The Border Patrol Party had spotted empty bottles of water, beer and energy drinks with Chinese markings around a kilometre within the Indian territory near Gui village in the Kaurik sector. In September, the Indian Army had also spotted at least eight PLA soldiers in Ghungrangla, an official said, requesting anonymity.
At the time both sides had warned each other to retreat, and a face off had been averted. Chinese soldiers had also erased the graffiti made by Indian soldiers on its side of the border.
Pre-fabricated structures coming up across border
The patrol also noticed a barrack, a prefabricated structure, under construction close to Sarang. China has constructed an unmetalled road bifurcating from the Sarang poling road and going towards Thagla pass in the Uttarakhand. China has also constructed barracks for its troops at Sarang, while a concrete bridge has been constructed over the Chu river, the official said, adding the Chinese army had carried out face-off drills across the Himachal Pradesh sector, in which it divided its personnel’s into files facing each other. They held different flags and practised the conditions of face-off.
The 240-km Chinese border had remained peaceful even during the Chinese aggression in 1962, but for the past few years, the PLA has been stepping up activities and incidents of choppers entering the Indian air space have become more frequent.
Helicopter intrusion in the sensitive Kaurik sector in Kinnaur was reported twice last year, besides Chinese markings were traced near a village in Spiti, the official said.