China has reportedly placed some of its nuclear weapons close to the Indian border in Kashgar, Xinjiang and has the ability to launch punishing nuclear strikes within minutes according to a paper written by a Chinese former military officer and reports by Indian media.
According to a paper published by Yang Chengjun, China may have completed a missile attack early warning system while bolstering its nuclear programs. China can detect hostile nuclear missiles and counterattack using nuclear weapons within minutes before they hit mainland China.
This would allow China to launch nuclear strikes targetting India or the US even before Indian or American missiles hit Chinese targets. Development of such a system requires advanced missile defence technologies integrating artificial satellites to detect missile launches with sea-based radar, they said.
In the paper, Yang also emphasized that China’s nuclear capacity has become comparable to those other nuclear countries including the US and Russia.
China has apparently increased its missile defence capabilities in recent years, as the leadership of President Xi Jinping has stepped up efforts to give the nation’s military “world-class” status by the mid-21st century.
China’s Kashgar Nuclear Vault
According to an investigation by India Today, China has ramped up construction of an underground nuclear vault in Kashgar. The construction started even before the Sino-India clash at Ladakh.
Experts at EurAsian times believe that the underground construction that could be used to conceal nuclear warheads by Beijing. And in case of strike by New Delhi, Beijing can quickly and effectively hit Indian targets.
The Kashgar airbase is 475 km away from the Karakoram Pass and is seen as a direct deployment against India. From the Finger 4 area of the Pangong Lake that has been the biggest flashpoint, Kashgar is 690 km. The distance of Daulat Beg Oldie, India’s airfield in eastern Ladakh at more than 16,000 feet the distance to Kashgar is 490 km.
These vaults being under the Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) can provide protection from direct attack as well as deny satellite/aerial observation during preparation for use of the weapons. The approximate depth is 8m and a square portion under possibly two of these shelters is further dug to almost 15m depth.
The Kashgar airbase has had a regular deployment of JH-7 and J-11 aircraft along with surface to air missiles since a long time but China has recently added the H-6 bombers. The H-6 gives China a modern bomber to deploy against India.
Although China has a ‘No First Use’ (NFU) nuclear policy, western analysts have always doubted Chinese NFU policy in almost all their assessments. Recently Federation of American Scientists had accepted that the Chinese Air Force may have a role to play in its nuclear policy and execution.