The border dispute between India and China took another swing with Beijing reportedly deploying 50,000 troops along with 150 fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles (SAM) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
According to Indian defence experts, India is thoroughly prepared to deal with any eventuality, with their armed forces already reinforcing their forward positions in the high-altitude region to counter any new military build-ups from the Chinese, as they look at Beijing to make the first move.
Today (11th September), as Indian & Chinese foreign ministers successfully concluded meeting in Moscow, there were reports that the Indian side had highlighted its strong objection at the massing of PLA soldiers and military equipment along the LAC without any credible explanation for the deployment.
According to intelligence gathered from top Indian officials by TimesNow, China has positioned around 50,000 troops, air missile systems, a large section of rocket forces and 150 fighters along with bombers and other jets at airbases based in Xinjiang and Tibet, within a striking distance of the de-facto border, their largest build-up of troops in the region.
Although, a top official source has played down the situation stating that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are resorting to ‘pinpricking’ and their deployment has not reached the threshold of a full-blown conflict.
“PLA troop deployments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh are not tactically geared for war as of now. But yes, the pinpricks will continue,” said the official.
However, India has steered a clear warning towards Beijing against breaching the Indian perimeter around its forward posts, which includes barbed wire establishments on the heights. “They constitute a red-line. In fact, nowhere are we under-prepared now.” the official said.
New Delhi’s warning to Beijing comes at the back of bullets being fired in Mukhpari Top in the Chushul sector on Monday (September 07), the first time in 45 years in the Ladakh region.
The PLA has been steadily bolstering its build-up in the region since May which includes troops participating in a military exercise in Tibet. According to intelligence from the top officials, the PLA troops are working under the direct instructions of Beijing and if the actions lead to a war, China will have to pay a big price.
“The dispute is being directed from the very top of the political-military hierarchy in China, not by the exuberance of local PLA commanders. It can take any trajectory. But if China wants to start a war, it will also have to pay a heavy price,” the official said.
Following what was the second major clash at the Pangong Tso region along the border between Indian and Chinese soldiers, the Indian Army cruised to occupying strategic heights of the South Bank of the lake.
Since then, PLA has repeatedly tried sending in light tanks and infantry combat vehicles across the border, which has been blocked by the larger tanks of the Indian Army, which have according to the official, been given “full freedom” to foil all “provocative actions” of the Chinese.
“Our soldiers on the heights are well-armed and fully-prepared. We have even driven tanks up the ridgeline near Rechin La (Reqin mountain pass).” said the official.