More signs of tension appeared on the disputed India-China border

The Sino-Indian border tension has not shown any signs of abating as the armies of the two countries have increased the mobilization of troops and weapons to the border area.

The Chinese military has deployed at least one long-range strategic bomber H-6K to the border area with India. According to analysts, China’s move is intended to warn the Indian military to stay away from actions that may increase border tensions this winter.

On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force on November 11, CCTV released a video recording the H-6K bomber flying over the Himalayas.

However, the video image shows that the H-6K is armed with a short-range KD-63 missile, rather than a CJ-20 long-range cruise missile. Meanwhile, the CJ-20 is specifically designed to be integrated with the H-6K bomber.

More signs of tension appear on the disputed China-India border
China’s H-6K bombers are deployed near the disputed border with India. (Photo: CCTV)

A military source in Beijing emphasized that the H-6K is usually “stationed” in Shaanxi province. But since last year, the planes have been temporarily deployed to the city of Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Currently, the H-6K bomber fleet is under the control of the Western Theater Command, including the Xinjiang and Tibetan military regions, which is responsible for monitoring border security close to India.

“It is extremely easy for the Chinese military to dispatch H-6K aircraft to the China-India border area because these aircraft are currently stationed in the Western War Zone,” the South China Morning Post said. 

With a strike range of more than 3,500 km, in addition to short-range missiles like the KD-63, the H-6K bomber is designed to carry the CJ-20 long-range cruise missile to attack land and sea targets.

Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Tong said the sudden deployment of the H-6K was “clearly a warning to India, New Delhi is now within the strike range of the H-6K, along with the CJ-20 missile,” Wong stressed.

But military commentator Song Zhongping said that the Chinese military did not focus on attacking the capital New Delhi, but instead targeted air bases, missile launch sites, and military posts located near the border. China will not attack civilian areas. Therefore, New Delhi will not be the target of air-launched missiles, even if the Indian capital is located quite close to the border with China,” Song said.

Meanwhile, a researcher at the Institute of Military Science and Technology Yuan Wang in Beijing, emphasized that the image released by CCTV did not show a CJ-20 long-range missile.

“This is a cautious warning from the Chinese military. Apparently, the video released by CCTV shows that the H-6K bomber is not equipped with CJ-20 missiles. China wants the border conflict with India not to increase tensions, because the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to get worse this winter,” Zhou said.

The CCTV report also said that the Chinese army in the Xinjiang military region conducted highland live-fire training at Mount Karakoram. The purpose of the exercise is to practice the ability to destroy enemy tanks and military posts.

Indian airforce in leh-ladakh
Indian airforce in leh-ladakh

Responding to the maneuver of the Chinese military, the Indian Air Force sent Mig-29UPG and Su-30MKI fighters to frontline airbases in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. These are the three main areas of border dispute between China and India and are located along the 3,488 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayas.

On November 11, the CDS of Indian armed forces, General Bipin Rawat, stated that China is currently the biggest security threat to India. Mr. Rawat stressed that tens of thousands of troops and weapons quickly deployed by India to the disputed Himalayan border area by 2020 will not going to return to permanent bases for a long time.

General Rawat acknowledged, “distrust and skepticism” are increasing in the process of Sino-India negotiations to resolve the border dispute.

In October, the military commanders of China and India also met with failure in the 13th round of negotiations. After the meeting, the two sides constantly blamed each other for hindering the reconciliation process. China accused India of making unreasonable demands, while India criticized China for not taking measures to improve the situation.

After the clash in the Galwan valley in June 2020 that left at least 20 Indian soldiers and more than 40 Chinese soldiers dead, the two armies have made more moves to increase their troops and weapons close to the border. Time to build more infrastructure to serve logistics and human resource mobilization.

Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has changed its long-standing strategy to focus on dealing with Pakistan to China.

General Rawat further emphasized, “India is prepared to deal with any unexpected outbreaks at the border and at sea”.

Mr. Rawat’s comments coincided with an earlier statement by the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about China’s construction of many constructions in areas where China and India jointly claim sovereignty. According to Mr. Rawat, China has built villages along the LAC, which is considered the border separating the territory of China – India.

“China has built many villages that can be used for civilian accommodation or for military purposes in the future along the LAC especially after recent conflicts,” Rawat added.

Worth mentioning, the Indian military is undergoing the largest-scale reshuffle since the country gained independence 70 years ago. Currently, India is changing the scale of operations similar to the modern armies in the world such as the US.

Specifically, India wants to integrate the operations of its army, air force and navy, while the US, UK and Australia announced plans to deploy more nuclear submarines to the Asia-Pacific waters as planned. AUKUS project.

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