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China’s recent construction of a road in the Shaksgam Valley, a disputed region along the borders of the Chinese province of Xingjiang and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), has reignited tensions in the already volatile region.

The latest reports suggest that the Indian army is analyzing the strategic impact of the new road, which enters the lower Shaksgam valley from the Aghil Pass. The road infrastructure has been under development since June 2023, with construction efforts resuming in the summer of 2024.

Currently, its endpoint is a mere 30 miles from the Indian position over the Siachen Glacier. The Shaksgam Valley, part of the larger Trans-Karakoram tract, has been a contentious issue since its transfer by Pakistan to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) under the 1963 Sino-Pakistan Agreement. This transfer, regarded by India as illegal, has fueled longstanding territorial disputes in the northern areas of PoK and Ladakh.

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