India Views China’s Military Expansion Along The Disputed Himalayan Frontier As Provocative



By Awi Khan // in World


The Indian side sees China’s military projection and logistics capabilities strengthening along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayas as provocative and hostile because it is meant to be a contingency plan.

The Hindu claimed that the People’s Liberation Army had increased its military accommodation capacity within 100 kilometers of the LAC from 20,000 to 120,000 over the previous two years, citing Indian intelligence sources.

The PLA reportedly deployed four divisions, or 48,000 troops, from its Xinjiang military district, according to a report from an Indian newspaper published late last month. The soldiers were reportedly rotated along the disputed border with eastern Ladakh. On June 15, 2020, the worst fighting in more than 40 years claimed the lives of at least 20 Indian soldiers and four PLA soldiers in the Galwan Valley.

Do you have concerns regarding the most critical global issues and trends? SCMP Knowledge, a brand-new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses, and infographics, is here to help you find the answers. It’s brought to you by our award-winning team.

Since that conflict, the PLA has rebuilt and enlarged barracks along the LAC, both permanent and demountable ones, according to Zhou Chenming, a researcher from the Yuan Wang military science and technology think tank in Beijing.

“Many of the permanent buildings are warehouses for fuel storage, while other lodging and movable facilities would be utilised for housing troops,” Zhou said, adding that the PLA was equipped to send up to 120,000 troops to the LAC in a week if necessary.

Owing to its high military projection ability, infrastructure, and logistical supply network, China doesn’t need to station as many troops in border regions.

The Hindu added that new long-range artillery and rocket systems, more robust air defense systems, and enlarged infrastructures like runways and blast pens to store fighter jets had all been upgraded.

Zhou stated that the overall number of PLA personnel deployed was only a few thousand compared to the roughly 200,000 Indian soldiers stationed along the LAC.

He stated, “The troop deployment in the Western Theatre Command confronting the Indian side and the improvements and renovations of frontline installations aim at preparation for any surprise strikes by the Indian army.

Yogesh Gupta, a former Indian ambassador to Denmark and an expert on China-India relations, stated that New Delhi saw the growth of the PLA’s soldier accommodation capability and the upgrading of its infrastructure as violent moves intended to encroach on Indian territory.

India, he claimed, was continually enhancing its defenses. “China may hold more weaponry, but the world is unsure of the quality of those weapons or the Chinese forces’ morale, training, and combat prowess.

“China’s deployments are offensive, while India’s are defensive. However, considering the disparities between the two nations’ ideologies, notably those of China under Xi Jinping.

Over the past two years, Beijing and New Delhi have engaged in competition over the placement of cutting-edge and complex weapons close to the LAC.

While Indian media claimed that New Delhi had strengthened its weaponry along the LAC in October with more Bofors cannons and ultralight M-777 howitzers, state broadcaster China Central Television claimed that the PLA had sent ZTQ 15 light tanks and drones to the Himalayas in the previous year.

According to Wang Dehua of the Shanghai Centre for International Studies, continued difficulties were brought on by a lack of trust between the two Asian superpowers.

Wang remarked, alluding to the violent border conflict between China and India in 1962, which resulted in thousands of deaths on both sides, “Some of the Indian elite have still not moved out of the shadow of that conflict.”

I think China’s move to strengthen the infrastructure and deployment along the LAC is primarily intended to avoid a repeat of the bloody 1962 conflict, opening the door for both parties to resolve the border dispute through peaceful dialogue.

According to Wang, China has been “very suspicious” of India’s collaboration with the United States in the Indo-Pacific Strategy because Beijing thought it was intended to create a miniature NATO in the area.

According to Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a professor of international studies at India’s Nalanda University, India will keep looking for a peaceful resolution, even if New Delhi is also ready for any “aggressive invasions into Indian territory.”

“Language and behavior are changing, as we are seeing. Trade between the two countries has surpassed $100 billion, totaling $125.6 billion. “The 16th session of military negotiations between the two sides, slated for Sunday, might be considered a favorable sign,” Chaturvedy added.


About the author, Awi Khan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}