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China building new road in Gilgit Baltistan – India hits back in Indo-Pacific

By ET News

China has decided to build a road that will link the 800-kilometre Karakoram highway with Astore in Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan, signalling Beijing and Islamabads intent to mount further pressure on Ladakh.

Highly placed sources told that China wants to connect Yarkand, a former Buddhist fount, and later a cultural heartbeat of the ethnic Uyghur culture, with Astore via the Karakoram highway. Once the 33-meter-wide road is built, China will be able to channel heavy artillery into Gilgit Baltistan, opening the possibility of threatening Indian positions in Ladakh.

Astore district is west of Skardu, a division headquarters of Pakistan, not far from Ladakh, where China and India are locked in an extended military standoff.

With Eidgah as its headquarters, Astore, is one of the 14 districts of Gilgit Baltistan. A low-quality road currently links Eidgah with Karakoram highway, which is 43 kilometres away. Analysts say, the construction of a new road will add to China and Pakistan’s capacity to launch a two-front war against India in Kashmir, unless effectively deterred by New Delhi.

While matching Chinese deployments as well as countering the initial strategic advantage by taking the Kailash range south of Pangong Tso lake on August 29, there are clear indications that India is preparing to mount its riposte not in the Himalayas, but in the waters of the Indo-Pacific.

India, in partnership with Japan and the United States has crossed significant milestones to hit China where it hurts most—along key shipping lanes used by Chinese commercial ships that pass through the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI).

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