China has installed three cellphone towers close to the Indian side near Hot Springs in Ladakh, herders returning from winter pasturelands said indicating Beijing may be looking at building a settlement and expanding military presence in the area that was among the sites where the two armies had faced off in 2020.
Konchok Stanzin, who represents the border constituency of Chushul in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Council, said installation of cellphone towers in such remote location by China underlines poor communication infrastructure in border villages on the Indian side.
“They (China) are setting up 4G towers in such isolated areas. Their herders will now stay connected. Our graziers fall off the grid once they move out with their livestock. Except two, all border villages are still on 2G (service) that is patchy at best and lacks signal strength,” he told TOI. He tweeted pictures of the new Chinese towers, ostensibly clicked by herders from vantage points. TOI could not independently verify the pictures.
Hot Spring is across Marsimik La (pass in Ladakhi), 22 km from Phobrang village that is 5-6 hour’s drive towards east from Leh.