China Reportedly Laying Fiberoptic Cables and 5G Connectivity in Disputed Territory with India

On August 28, citing domestic intelligence agencies as their source, the Indian media reported that China has been laying fiberoptic cables and associated equipment for 5G connectivity in disputed border regions with India since early August 2020.  Per these reports, 5G connectivity is being established in the disputed Demchok area along India and China’s Line of Actual Control.  There are also reports that the People’s Liberation Army has simultaneously been building military capability near other border flash-points, including PLA barracks along the disputed Pangong Lake and missile air defense systems along the Doklam region.

These events are occurring concurrent to talks between India and China seeking disengagement and de-escalation of ongoing tensions that have flared since early May 2020.

News of alleged 5G development in these areas has renewed calls for New Delhi to exclude Chinese firms from the country’s telecommunications networks, particularly from India’s upcoming 5G trials.  A formal decision remains pending on this matter.