No, Chinese tourists did not visit Indian side of Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh
Comments along with a short video doing rounds on social media are an attempt to misrepresent the facts on the ground
A short video clip of Chinese tourists enjoying a boat ride at Pangong Tso has been doing the rounds on social media. Many users have shared it on Twitter too.
Some accounts have, however, given it a malicious twist to misinform, claiming that it was shot from the Indian side of Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh which is witnessing a tense standoff between Indian and Chinese troops over the past few months.
Congress political leader Salman Nizami shared the video clip on Twitter on Tuesday, with a comment apparently referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an offensive manner: “Chinese tourists in Ladakh's Pangong Lake. Can someone ask '56 inch' Chowkidar if Indians now need a visa to visit Pangong Lake?”
Chinese tourists in Ladakh's Pangong Lake. Can someone ask '56 inch' Chowkidar if Indians now need a visa to visit Pangong Lake? pic.twitter.com/6LKiMu12PP— Salman Nizami (@SalmanNizami_) September 8, 2020
In this short video clip, Chinese tourists are on a boat on a lake which looks like Pangong Tso Lake. The man who recorded the video can also be heard speaking in what seems to be Mandarin.
National convener of Congress party’s social media department Saral Patel was also among those who shared the video on Twitter writing “Chinese tourists at the Panging Tso”, with an angry emoji.
This was retweeted by Congress national spokesperson Shama Mohamed with the comment, “Chinese tourists are apparently vacationing at Pangong Tso & PM Modi is still in agreement with China's lie that there have been no incursions or annexation of Indian territory.” See the screenshot below.
But this is far from the truth.
Pangong Lake is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at an elevation of 4,225 m (13,862 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from Ladakh in India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies within the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point
The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China passes through the Pangong Lake, effectively dividing it into two parts. India controls the 45 km-long western portions of the 135 km-long lake; the rest is under Chinese control.
According to recent news reports, China has opened the Pangong Lake to domestic and international tourists.
Shen Shiwei, a journalist working for the China state sponsored media CGTN News, tweeted, “Actually, Pangong Tso in China is open to tourists at home and abroad for quite a long time. The lake is near the Chinese national highway and is a good place for self-driving travel. We have a resort on the lake here.”
It is, therefore, clear that the video that is being circulated has been shot on the Chinese side of the Pangong Lake.The claims that are being made on various social media platforms attacking the Indian government and saying that the video has been shot on the Indian side are patently false, misleading, and malicious.