April 22, 2021
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China to readjust troop deployment along LAC

Chinese troops will be redeployed along the volatile Indian border which is known as Line of Actual Control (LAC) before this winter as more than seven PLA units will undergo change of training, weapons and operations for the new job.

The Chinese units are being drawn from various elite forces of PLA and capable of carrying out day and night operations and deep penetration reconnaissance inside enemy territory. All such units will be air borne in nature and are equipped with hi-tech gadgets.   

China is focusing hard on Indian border after Indian Defence Minister A K Antony told Indian Parliament in March that it will deploy more than 40,000 troops along the LAC which China’s powerful Central Military Commission regards as a new development.

The CMC which is China’s apex body in defining doctrine and operations has ordered more combat troops and carrying out nearly 100 more border patrolling deep inside Indian perceived territory of LAC each month.

According to CMC officials, India has changed the operational parameters and more such actions will happen in future. “Since India’s position on Tibet and Xinjiang is not clear, China will have to step up frequent border patrolling in future.”

China has been accusing India of occupying Arunachal Pradesh while India is accusing China of occupying Aksai China area which used to be Indian territory before it lost to China in 1962.

Now, the Depsang incident has brought a new change in the PLA doctrine and thinking towards India. As part of it, China will mobilize frequent combat patrols along the LAC even in the winter and activate underground bunkers.

China has constructed more than 35 bunkers along the LAC in last four years and most of them are being upgraded into oxygen induced bunkers with thermal controlling facility to keep the troops warm in the harsh winter of Tibetan Plateau.

China now feels that India is catching up to some degree as it was evident to PLA top-brass during Depsang crisis when Indian troops arrived on the spot within a day or less time despite facing difficult terrains.     

Apart from change of doctrine, PLA wants deploy Rapid Reaction Forces and two air borne divisions close to LAC, in addition to existing deployment, mainly at Sela and Tawang of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

The new Chinese border strategy will cover Milam Glacier near the border of Uttarakhand state of India where China has newly constructed a SIGINT station. The station will be attached with Dayi station located near Chengdu which is the largest PLA SIGINT facility.

China’s present round of worry is on two counts. The PLA feels India is building up military infrastructure along the LAC and the ongoing unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang will continue to brew trouble for PLA.

Thus, the PLA leadership thinks it is high time to assert its claims on the borders at a time when its maritime forces - PLAN and Chinese PLAAF are engaged in South China Sea and East Sea in various regional disputes with other neighbors.

The readjustment of Chinese troop deployment may deepen India’s suspicion towards the intention of Beijing and its long term goal of creating an unstable border which will make India weak along the LAC.

Although both sides are now working on a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement to make the LAC a zone of tranquility, it could be a Chinese tactic to force India to suspend its military infrastructure development program along the borders.