The Galwan Valley

This is a screenshot of Google Earth showing the confluence of the Shyok and Galwan rivers in Ladakh. I’m not entirely sure, but if news reports are true then this is where the unfortunate incident between the Indian and Chinese army patrols near the LAC happenned. The magenta curve is the road joining Shyok and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) on the Indian side of the LAC, passing through a small village called Murgo. Actually the yellow curve is the road as per Google Maps. The magenta curve is the GPS track I traced using Google Earth’s imagery. I traced it in the hope that I would one day explore this remote region of Ladakh on my motorcycle. But now given what’s happenned I don’t think civilians will be allowed to go anywhere close to this region anytime soon.

The red curve flowing along the mountain ridges and connecting the peaks is what I think Google believes to be the LAC. I know that the LAC isn’t officially demarcated by India or China. But Google marks disputed regions in red. Undisputed international borders are marked in yellow.

Experts keep talking about how the Galwan valley is strategically important for India. If you look do a fly over in Google Earth and inspect the terrain in this region you will see why. The confluence point of the two rivers seems to be the closest to the LAC (as perceived by Google) and gives direct access to Aksai Chin which is under the control of China and is claimed by India.

What happenned is extremely unfortunate. I hope cooler heads prevail to diffuse the situation and prevent any further loss of life on both sides. The world is going through a very bad time at the moment. We all have bigger fish to fry.