Also known as Pangong Lake, it is one of the major points of military confrontation between India and China in recent times.
Recently, China has been building new bridges and other key military infrastructure in and around the lake to facilitate the faster movement of its troops and cargo.
Read the article to know the important facts about Pangong Tso Lake, which would be helpful for the Geography section of the IAS Exam.
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Pangong Tso Lake Geography
- Pangong Lake is a long boomerang-shaped endorheic (landlocked) water body.
- It is located at an elevation of roughly more than 4,200 meters (13,800 ft) above sea level.
- It is a transborder lake spanning across eastern Ladakh and western Tibet, with a length of more than 135 km.
- It is around 5 km wide at its broadest point.
- Around 40% of the lake lies within the Indian territory, 50% in Tibet (China), and the rest 10% is reportedly disputed between the two and is a de facto buffer zone.
- Practically China controls 2/3rd of the total length while the rest is controlled by India.
- Eastern Part:
- The easternmost part of the lake is freshwater in character.
- Fishes, crustaceans, ducks, moss, and other aquatic flora & fauna too, inhabit this region.
- It is an important breeding region for a number of migratory birds during summers.
- Birds such as Bar Headed Goose and Brahmini Ducks are commonly found here during the warm weather season.
- Western Part:
- The westernmost part of the lake is extremely saline in character.
- No fishes or flora are observed in or near the lake, however, a few crustaceans can be seen in the water.
- The lake has over the past shrunken in size due to geological factors.
- The lake was not always endorheic in character in the past.
- During winters, the lake freezes and becomes ideal for ice skating and polo.
- The lake has many islands within it.
- One of the most famous islands of Pangong Tso lake is the Bird Islet.
Fact: An individual inner line permit is required to be obtained from the office of the Deputy Commissioner at Leh by the Indian nationals to visit the region, while foreign nationals can get only a group inner line permit for a minimum of 3 people accompanied by a guide registered and recognised by the local government.
Note: Supplement your UPSC civil services exam preparation with these crisp and important NCERT Geography Notes prepared by BYJU’s experts.
Fingers within the Pangong Tso Lake
Chang Chenmo is the name of barren mountains situated at the northern bank of the lake which extends out into major spurs into the lake that are called fingers by the Army. China claims that the LAC passes through finger 2 while India believes it to be passing through the finger 8. Both the countries control the land on their respective sides only up to finger 4 where the major confrontations have been happening in the recent past.
Officially, the McMohan Line defines the border between India and China. It was created by the British Indian Government as an agreement between India and then Tibet. China always objects to the whole border settlement as it claims that the agreement is false because China wasn’t part of it rather Tibet was.
Note: Find the detailed breakdown of the UPSC IAS exam by visiting UPSC Civil Services Exam 2022 Syllabus.
Pangong Tso Lake and Recent Developments
- India has started widening its Char Dham Highway after the Supreme Court gave its nod.
- The highway is very crucial as it’ll allow the Indian Military and Paramilitary forces to reach the Sino-Indian borders quickly.
- China started building a bridge recently on Pangong Tso Lake, which will help it immensely to deploy its troops and military logistics much faster in the region if the need arises.
- The bridge is around 20 kilometres east of finger 8 on the northern bank.
- China’s new Land Border Policy came into effect on 1st January 2022, which officially denotes the aggression of China towards its neighbours, especially India.
- It formalizes the Chinese transgressions over the LAC.
- The law requires the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to set up clear boundary markers across its borders.
- India has expressed its concerns over the law for its misuse by the Chinese Government.
- It also requires its citizens and organizations living or located near the border area to protect and defend the Chinese border infrastructure.
- It also mandates everyone from doing such activities which have a direct or indirect potential of endangering its national security.
- China has started building new military infrastructure near the Line of Actual Control.
- Reportedly, China has created new villages and settled its people within the Indian territory of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It has also started giving new names to the areas within the state of Arunachal Pradesh, signifying its aggressive overlook.
- India has also started improving its border infrastructure along the Indo-Chinese border and deploying the latest weapons near it.
- Pangong Tso Lake is in the process of being designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
- After the designation, it’ll be the first-ever transborder lake in South Asia to be identified as a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention.
Read more about the list of all Ramsar Sites in India, as it could be asked in the UPSC Exam 2022.
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