10:55 GMT26 February 2021
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    Satellite images of alleged Chinese roads and a border outpost at the Indian border near the eastern state of Sikkim surface days after Indian and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops clashed near the same site. Another clash between the nations' armies took place near the Sikkim border in May of last year.

    New satellite images accessed by American earth-imaging company Planet Labs have revealed what seems to be an under-construction border outpost and roads at the Indian border in the eastern state of Sikkim.

    The report also claims that China has developed many new roads at the border since May last year, when the border stand-off between New Delhi and Beijing escalated.

    ​The satellite imagery was cited by Rahul Gandhi, a member of the Indian opposition Congress party, on Sunday, who asked for a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the new information.

    “The Prime Minister must have the courage to name China,” Gandhi said, as he cited a Hindi news report based on the images.

    ​The images surfaced days after the Indian Army confirmed in a statement that there had been fresh clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops at the Naku-la Pass near the Sikkim border on 20 January.

    "We have received several queries regarding a face-off between Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in Sikkim sector. It is clarified that there was a minor face-off in the Naku La area of North Sikkim on 20 January and was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols," the Indian Army said on 25 January.

    Meanwhile, Beijing has said that it has “no information” to offer on the 20 January clashes.

    “I would like to stress, though, that China's border troops are committed to upholding peace and tranquillity along the border with India. We urge the Indian side to work in the same direction with us and refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at his weekly briefing on Monday.

    Located at 19,000 feet above sea level, the Naku-La Pass connects India’s Sikkim state to China’s Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

    The Naku-la Pass was also the site of another clash between the Indian and PLA troops in May last year, a flare-up that came amid the ongoing military standoff between the two Asian countries in the eastern Ladakh region on the western side of the 3,488-km long boundary line.

    In a bid to resolve the Ladakh standoff, the ninth round of military-commander level talks between the two armies took place on 24 January.

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    Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi, China, India
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