Chinese state media admits military deployment along India border
Bombers, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery, special forces and infantry units have been deployed in border areas, say reports in state-run media.Updated: Sep 09, 2020, 20:10 IST
China has deployed bombers, armoured vehicles and heavy artillery besides special forces as well as infantry units along the border with India, state media reports said on Wednesday, in a rare acknowledgment of what seems like a massive mobilisation of troops and equipment along the disputed boundary.
Usually, official media highlights exercises in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to demonstrate its military might along the border with India like it did last August, and repeatedly during the Doklam (Donglang) standoff in 2017.
The more blatant show of military power – including sorties by Chinese fighter jets close to the border – is reserved for Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that Beijing considers to be a renegade region which it wants to unify with the mainland, by force if necessary.
The words ‘deployment’ or ‘mobilisation’ are seldom used in the context of the border with India.
State-run nationalistic tabloid Global Times said in a report on Wednesday that “bombers, air defence troops, artillery, armoured vehicles, paratroopers, special forces and infantry units” have been mobilised from across the country at the border.
“H-6 bombers and Y-20 large transport aircraft attached to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Central Theatre Command Air Force have been deployed to the Tibetan plateau region for training missions, the command revealed on Tuesday, the Global Times report said.
A report in national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said HJ-10 anti-tank missile systems attached to the PLA 71st Group Army were recently transported from east China’s Jiangsu province to northwest China’s Gobi desert, which is more than 1,600 km away.
For the PLA, it would be easier to dispatch troops and equipment to the northwest from the Gobi desert region.
“An air defence brigade under the PLA 72nd Group Army also mobilised to the Northwest region in autumn and held live-fire confrontational drills with anti-aircraft guns and missiles,” CCTV reported on Friday.
A separate CCTV report said paratroopers and heavy equipment on board the PLA Air Force’s transport aircraft recently conducted a multidimensional area capture and control exercise, also in the deserts of northwest China.
The news reports did not specify since when the troops were being mobilised from different parts of China to the border. But they attributed the movement of troops and equipment to the ongoing boundary tension in eastern Ladakh.
The reports added that soldiers, guns and aircraft were moved near the border areas not only from different parts of China but also different theatre commands.
The Sino-India border area falls under the Western Theatre Command (WAC) of the PLA – the largest among its five theatres of command that covers the mainland’s geography.
Several troop divisions deployed in northwest China’s desert areas in Xinjiang and southwest China’s TAR have been ordered to carry out live-fire drills and complex military maneuvres.
Chinese military experts whom HT reached out to did not comment on the deployment.
India has repeatedly and consistently rejected China’s allegations that Indian troops crossed over to the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, asserting that New Delhi has always taken a responsible approach towards border management and maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas.