India-China Dispute: Pangong Lake

The current eye-to-eye confrontation between China and India is at the Pangong Tso site. The countries have ramped up their troops in the region since May.


India recently set up twin commands headquartered at Chandigarh and Guwahati and has deployed 90,000 troops. The troop personnel are all well trained mountaineers. The issue began in the patrolling of Indian troops in the border. This is an on and off issue where one country crosses the border while patrolling. This happens as the border dispute is unsolved and certain border areas are not yet demarcated.

What is the issue?

The disputed area between India and China mostly passes in the land. However, the Pangong Tso lake is unique where the disputed border passes through the water.

The lake does not have major tactical significance. However, the lake lies in the path of Chushul approach. It is the approach that China uses to offend territories held by India.

What are the Fingers of the Lake?

The barren mountain called Chang Chenmo has palm like formations called ‘fingers’. India claims that LAC (Line of Actual Control) starts from Finger 8. On the hand, China claims that it starts from Line 2. India physically controls up to Finger 4.

About the lake

The Pangong Tso lake is a long deep narrow lake that is situated at a height of 4,350 metres in the Ladakh region. The lake is 134 km long and 5 km broad. It is a brackish water lake. It freezes in winter and is ideal for polo and ice skating. It is not a part of the Indus river basin. Also, it is not a Ramsar site yet. However, the process to identify it under Ramsar Convention is on.

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