In a concerning development with potential security implications for India, satellite images have revealed that China is currently constructing a road in the Shaksgam Valley, a region of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) under Chinese control since 1963. This area, close to the Siachen Glacier – known as the world’s highest battlefield – has seen the emergence of a new road branching off from China’s Highway G219 in Xinjiang.

According to coordinates (36.114783°, 76.671051°), the road extends approximately 50 kilometers north of India’s northernmost point, Indira Col, which has recently been visited twice by India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Satellite imagery analyzed by the European Space Agency and corroborated by India Today’s Open-Source Intelligence team indicates that construction of the road began between June and August last year. Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma, former commander of the Indian Army’s Fire and Fury Corps responsible for guarding Kargil, Siachen Glacier, and Eastern Ladakh, has emphasized the illegality of this construction, urging India to lodge a diplomatic protest against China.

Initial reports on this development were first highlighted by ‘Nature Desai’, an observer of the Indo-Tibetan frontier, on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).