Galwan River – UPSC Prelims

  • The Galwan River flows from the disputed Aksai Chin region administered by China to the Ladakh region of India.
  • It originates near the caravan campsite Samzungling on the eastern side of the Karakoram range and flows west to join the Shyok River.
  • The point of confluence is 102 km south of Daulat Beg Oldi.
  • Shyok River itself is a tributary of the Indus River, making Galwan a part of the Indus River system.
  • The narrow valley of the Galwan River as it flows through the Karakoram mountains has been a flashpoint between China and India in their border dispute.
  • Strategic importance of Galwan River Valley (GRV):
    • The Galwan River is the highest ridgeline and it allows the Chinese to dominate the Shyok route passes, which is close to the river.
    • It lies along the western sector of the LAC and close to Aksai Chin, a disputed area claimed by India but controlled by China.
  • Why tensions suddenly rose in this area?
    • India is trying to construct a feeder road emanating from Darbuk-Shyok Village – Daulat Beg Odi road (DS-DBO road).
    • This road runs along the Shyok River and is the most critical line of communications close to LAC.
    • Hence, Chinese were keen on controlling this area as they fear that the Indian side could end up threatening their position on the Aksai Chin plateau by using the river valley.

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