Friday, 2 December, 2022
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China has more than doubled its military positions at LAC since Doklam, new report says

China is constructing at least 13 new military positions near its borders with India, including 3 air bases and 5 heliports, says a Stratfor report.

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New Delhi: China has more than doubled its air bases, air defence positions, and heliports near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since the 2017 Doklam crisis, indicating its intent to increase military posturing in border disputes with India in the future, a new report by a leading global geopolitical intelligence platform said Tuesday.

Beijing’s military push is leading to long-term regional tensions with India sustained beyond the two countries’ recent standoffs in eastern Ladakh, said the Stratfor report.

Titled A Military Drive Spells Out China’s Intent Along the Indian Border, the report has been authored by Stratfor’s senior global analyst Sim Tack, with satellite imagery from @detresfa, a Twitter user known for satellite imagery expertise.

The report said China’s intensified development of military infrastructure on the Indian border suggests a shift in Beijing’s approach to territorial disputes.

“The 2017 Doklam crisis appears to have shifted China’s strategic objectives, with China more than doubling its total number of air bases, air defense positions, and heliports near the Indian border over the past three years,” it said.

It noted that the upgrade of China’s military facility has “sharply increased” particularly over the last two years, leading to the deadly 15 June clash in the Galwan Valley.

Speaking to ThePrint on why China is following this aggressive policy, Tack said he believes the scale and and timeframe of this development, which has clearly accelerated in recent years, shows a calculated strategy on Beijing’s part.

“Beijing is executing this strategy from a position of strength, and while the outcome of future political or military disputes is difficult to predict, they are establishing the support structures that will put them in a stronger position when those come around,” he said.

Since the Doklam crisis, Tack said in his report, China has started constructing at least 13 entirely new military positions near its borders with India, including three air bases, five permanent air defence positions and five heliports. Construction on four of those new heliports started only after the onset of the current Ladakh crisis in May, said the report.

It was reported earlier that China was ramping up its military presence, including near Doklam.

Also read: 14 hours of India-China talks fail to break logjam, more rounds of negotiations ahead

China’s approach similar to its SCS strategy

In his report, Tack observed that these long-term developments have greater significance beyond the deployments China made in its previous border standoffs with India.

China’s strategy aims to confront India while leaning on broad support infrastructure, which provides Beijing with a tremendous ability to mobilise forces into disputed border areas, he noted.

“Such an approach is similar to China’s strategy in the South China Sea, where a buildup of permanent defense facilities supports Chinese localized military superiority and significantly raises the potential cost of military opposition to Beijing’s maritime claims in the region,” wrote Tack.

“In applying this same strategy on the Indian border, China aims to discourage Indian resistance or military action during future border disputes by ostentatiously demonstrating its ability and intent to engage in military confrontations,” he added.

The report also noted that China’s main focus was on improving its air offensive and defensive positions along the LAC.

Chances of direct confrontations

The report also took note that New Delhi too is on a major infrastructure push along the LAC.

The efforts by both India and China to translate these capabilities into dominance during future border disputes will raise the possibility of direct confrontations, it said.

“And with strong logistical structures supporting frontline forces on both sides, such incidents could rapidly devolve into greater military engagements between the two nuclear-armed neighbors,” the report added.

It was reported last week that tensions in eastern Ladakh could eventually result in increased permanent deployment of forces in the sector, in what could be termed as the “LoC-isation” of the LAC.

Also read: Army could induct ‘another division of troops’ in eastern Ladakh as China continues build-up


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  1. Col. appears to be so called liberals. Right from Pt. Nehru to present govt we are focussing on only and only economic and social issues but the net result is 0. Did col ever cry BHARAT MATA KI JAI? If yes explain what does it mean?

  2. Col.Vishwanathan,with all due respect ,I disagree and whether China would win or not let the time decide.I am surprised that an Army veteran is stating china’s win.
    I have a question for you,dear Sir,are we expected to sit quietly and meekly bow in front of China and let it takes what ever territory it fancies when and ever because India must focus on Economic front and other issues ? And if you say Yes because that is what your article suggests then why India should maintain Army atall in Laddakh or even in Aksai Chin as we should focus on our Economic and other issues and let China and Pakistan do’ Ramba Ho Ho’ after all we must focus on our Economy and other issues.What meaning you have of Motherland that you suggest then dear Sir.Regards

  3. It is about time we as a nation wake up to reality of a 2 1/2 front war and redevelop our armed forces, we are blessed to have amazing men and woman serve the nation. The Taxpayer must insure they are equipped with the best as well. India needs to up its annual defense budget to a minimum of China and a maximum of the United States. Either we realize yesterday that we have 2 enemies at the door or we will loose land. Throughout History India has always been a machine in generating wealth but poor at protecting it.

    Wake up great nation .

  4. Like the Ten Commandments and Ashoka’s Edicts, in present times, nothing is etched in stone. The world is evolving. The increase in rate of speed of change after the II WW War, in areas ranging from technology to tactics can rival the speed of light, so to speak. Methods (the way we talk) are less important than the core issue. It is better that we stick to basics rather than to methods in our analysis of all matters and situations. What is happening now between India and China has happened many times earlier; it is just that this time because of technology the game is being played out louder in the media.
    The fact is nothing about LAC has really changed since 1947, since the exact line of LAC has never been agreed by the two parties. Using this as an excuse, China often tries to grab unoccupied territories (patrolled by both etc…) wherever possible and whenever it suits them, along the LAC. The intend is nothing more than to keep India on a leash and ensure it is not a competition in South Asia. It is also sad that two Nations, even after wars and talks, have not been able to resolve it for decades. This happens when one or both parties do not want a resolution. It is abundantly clear here as to who does not want the issue resolved. It is fallacious to expect that it will get resolved any time soon unless China comes to the negotiating table. Like Snehesh often says, War is not a solution while it can extend the problem. But we have to maintain a strong Army.
    China will win the day, if we as a Nation divert our excess energies here rather than on the economic and societal issues which are more fundamental and enduring to a better future for India.

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