Context: China is rushing to complete a bridge across the Pangong Tso, connecting the north and south banks. About Pangong Tso Lake:
- Location: Pangong Tso is an endorheic lake (landlocked) that is partly in India’s Ladakh region and partly in Tibet.
- Its total area is over 600 sq km.
- Cultural Feature: The name of the lake reflects the mixed heritage of the lake: Pangong in Ladakhi means extensive concavity, the word Tso is Tibetan for lake.
- It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.
- Geographical Features:
- The Karakoram Mountain range, which crosses Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India, with heights of over 6,000 metres including K2, the world’s second highest peak, ends at the north bank of Pangong Tso.
- Its southern bank too has high broken mountains sloping towards Spangur Lake in the south.
- The lake’s water, while crystal clear, is brackish, making it undrinkable. The lake freezes during the winter, allowing some vehicular movement on it as well.
- Nearly two-thirds of the lake is controlled by China, with just about 45 km under Indian control.
- The LAC, running north-south, cuts the western part of the lake, aligned east-west.
- India and China have unsettled borders, and the perception of the LAC differs in multiple sectors, including in Pangong Tso.