China is continuing what amounts to making preparations for war with India along occupied Tibet’s border, suggests the US department of defence its latest annual report on China’s overall military power.
China has not reduced its massive additional military deployments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, and continues to develop border infrastructure like underground storage facilities, roads, dual-use villages, airfields and helipads, timesofindia.com Oct 21 cited the Pentagon as saying.
In the report’s section on the India-China border, the Pentagon report has held that Chinese Western Theatre Command’s deployments along the 3,488-km long LAC “will likely continue through 2023”.
This tallies with the assessment in India, noted the timesofindia.com report.
The report noted that the military confrontation in eastern Ladakh was now set to enter the fourth consecutive winter after the 20th round of corps commander-level talks on Oct 9-10 did not lead to any breakthrough in defusing the two major face-offs at Depsang Plains and the Charding Ninglung Nallah (CNN) track junction at Demchok.
It cited the Pentagon report as saying China had last year deployed one border regiment, supported by two divisions of Xinjiang and Tibet Military Districts with four combined-arms brigades (CABs) in reserve in the western sector (Ladakh) of the LAC. Each CAB normally has around 4,500 soldiers with tanks, artillery, air defence missiles and other weapon systems.
“China also deployed as many as three light-to-medium CABs in the eastern sector (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh) from its other theatre commands and an additional three CABs in the central sector (Uttarakhand, Himachal) of the LAC. Although some elements of a light CAB eventually withdrew, a majority of the deployed forces remain in place along the LAC,” the report was quoted was saying.
On China’s military border infrastructure development, the Pentagon has said, “The improvements include underground storage facilities near Doklam, new roads in all three sectors of the LAC, new villages in disputed areas in neighbouring Bhutan, a second bridge over the Pangong Lake, a dual-purpose airport near the central sector, and multiple helipads.”
The Pentagon has also said Beijing now has more than 500 operational nuclear warheads, surpassing previous projections, and is fully on course to reach over 1,000 warheads by 2030, while it also builds a formidable arsenal of long-range ballistic missiles.
Referring to China’s overall military build-up efforts, the report has noted that the country continues to rapidly modernise its military by enhancing capabilities across all domains of warfare, including the traditional land, air and sea as well as nuclear, space, counter-space, electronic warfare and cyberspace.
Referring to President Xi Jinping’s frequent calls while addressing the country’s military, the report has noted that China is strengthening its ability to “fight and win wars”, counter interventions by third parties in conflicts along its periphery and project power globally, in tune with Xi’s goal of having a “world class” military by 2049.