China Road Construction Along Disputed Border with India Facilitates China’s Access to Mineral Assets and Enhances Military Transport Potential

On June 1, India’s Economic Times reported that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had constructed a new permanent road near India’s Gogra military post in the Ladakh territory of the disputed Kashmir region.  The road appears to serve dual-use purposes, both enhancing Beijing’s access to a mineral rich location while also facilitating the movement of Chinese troops to an area that has seen rising military tensions.

The 4‑km road reportedly includes two bridges and is situated along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the border demarcation over which India and China have been locked in a month-long military stand-off.  Present tensions, however, are only the latest in what has been a worsening situation along this historically disputed border.

According to Indian media, the new road was designed to facilitate Beijing’s military encroachments into the region, while also offering the PLA access to a mountain area that is speculated to have substantial gold and other mineral deposits.  This report comes amid claims from Indian officials that China is building up strategic reserves of military armament at a PLA base on the side of the border controlled by Beijing.  Border tensions flared this year after India built a road linking the southern part of the Ladakh territory to a northern location known as, Daulat Beg Oldie, where the Indian Air Force maintains a strategic landing strip critical to New Delhi’s access in the region.  The Indian project, however, was, in turn, reportedly in response to persistent territorial encroachments and infrastructure construction by China in sections of the LAC claimed by India.