At Least 50,000 Extra Indian Troops Deployed Along Chinese Border
This is a 40 per cent increase in Indian military deployment from the previous year.
In a significant defensive development, at least 50,000 additional Indian troops were deployed to the Indo-China border over the past few months.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Indian military personnel, as well as fighter jet squadrons, have been shifted to three separate areas along the Chinese border, adding up to a strength of around 200,000 troops in the area.
This is a 40 percent increase in military deployment from the previous year.
The Indian Army and the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi have not offered a comment on this matter.
As per an official, the shifting of troops is part of a strategy termed as the ‘offensive defence’, which will provide Indian commanders with increased options to attack and seize Chinese territory if necessary, Bloomberg reported.
India's defence strategy with China has hitherto been focussing on blocking china's moves, so this marks a notable change in the Indian defensive strategy.
That includes a lighter footprint involving more helicopters to airlift soldiers from valley to valley along with artillery pieces like the M777 howitzer built by BAE Systems Inc.
Meanwhile, it is not clear how many Chinese soldiers are present at the border but China's People’s Liberation Army has also recently called up additional forces from Tibet, to be stationed at the Xinjiang Military Command, which is responsible for patrolling disputed territories along the Himalayas, Bloomberg reported.
Two people also told the news publication that the world's biggest economy is adding new runway buildings, bomb-proof bunkers for fighter jets and new airfields along Tibet's border.
Long-range artillery, tanks, rocket regiments and twin-engine fighters have also been reportedly installed on the border in the past few months.
India-China Border Relations “Generally Stable”
As per Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, who addressed a press meet on Monday, "The current situation on the border between China and India is generally stable and the two sides are negotiating to resolve relevant border issues,” Bloomberg reported.
He added, "In this context, the words, deeds and military deployments of relevant military and political leaders should help ease the situation and increase mutual trust between the two sides, not the other way around."
However, he emphasised that miscalculations with heightened military presence can lead to an even deadlier dispute.
DS Hooda, a lieutenant general and former Northern Army commander in India, reiterated: “Having so many soldiers on either side is risky when border management protocols have broken down,” adding, “A small local incident could spiral out of control with unintended consequences.”
Tensions in the Past
The two nations witnessed the most brutal dispute in decades last year at Galwan Valley, where twenty Indian soldiers were killed in eastern Ladakh amid violent clashes.
Even after 11 core-commander-level talks for disengagement and de-escalation at the LAC, the relation between the two countries is still at a crossroads.
Recently, an Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson had blamed China’s actions of stationing a large number of troops in border areas and last year’s offensive along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as the reason for the ongoing tensions.
(With inputs from Bloomberg)
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