India dispatches 50,000 soldiers to India-China border

Bloomberg reported Sunday (27) that India has moved at least 50,000 reinforcements to the border region with China.

Citing four sources, the report noted that India has moved troops and fighter squadrons to three different areas along the border with China in the past few months. Overall, two of them said, India now has about 200,000 troops concentrated along the border, an increase of more than 40 percent over last year.

Whereas previously India’s military presence was aimed at deterring Chinese action, this redeployment will give Indian commanders more options to attack and seize Chinese territory if necessary with a strategy known as ‘offensive defense,’ one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. This involves more helicopters, airlifting soldiers from one valley to another, and armaments such as the M777 howitzer made by British company Bayeux Systems (BAE).

The report also cited sources saying that while it was not clear how many Chinese troops were on the border, India found that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had recently sent additional troops from Tibet to the Xinjiang military region, which patrols disputed areas along the Himalayas. Two of them said China is building additional new runways, bulletproof shelters to accommodate fighter jets and new airfields along the disputed border in Tibet. Beijing has also added long-range artillery, tanks, rocket regiments and twin-engine fighter jets in the past few months, they said.

India and China had a military conflict in the mountainous border region in 1962, but since the British withdrew from India, their strategic focus has been primarily on Pakistan, and India and Pakistan have fought a total of three wars over Kashmir. However, since last year’s deadliest India-China battle in decades, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has sought to ease tensions with Pakistan and has focused primarily on confronting Beijing.