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PLA expanded specialised high altitude arsenal of weapons

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has expanded its specialised high-altitude arsenal of weapons since the 2017 Doklam standoff with India to prepare for future conflicts, a state media report said.

“Since the Doklam standoff with India in 2017, the Chinese military has expanded its arsenal with weapons like the Type 15 tank, Z-20 helicopter and GJ-2 drone that should give China the advantage in high-altitude conflicts should they arise,” the nationalistic tabloid Global Times reported, quoting anonymous military experts.

The listing of new weapons, which could be specifically used against Indian troops by the Communist Party of China (CPC)-controlled news outlet comes in the backdrop of new tensions at the border, Hindustan Times reported.

China’s newly-developed helicopter-drone that made its maiden flight last week may be deployed on the Sino-India border. The AR500C unmanned helicopter is equipped to carry out fire strikes and disrupt electronic circuitry of its target at heights above 15,000 feet, state media reported.

Type 15 tank and the PCL-181 howitzer—-China’s most advanced vehicle-mounted howitzer— were displayed in the high-elevation plateau region of Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region in a report on military exercises in January.

“With a powerful engine, the Type 15 lightweight main battle tank can effectively operate in plateau regions difficult for heavier tanks, and with its advanced fire control systems and 105 millimeter caliber armor-piercing main gun, it can outgun any other light armored vehicles at high elevations,” unnamed experts were quoted as saying by the Global Times on Sunday, according to the Live Mint.

These developments come in the backdrop of the continuing standoff between the militaries of India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Indian army troops were flown to eastern Ladakh to strengthen security along the disputed Line of Actual Control, amid reports that Chinese soldiers have transgressed 3-5 km into territory claimed by India near the Pangong Lake, sources in the security establishment told The Telegraph.

“Troops are being flown to eastern Ladakh and deployed at the three standoff locations,” an Intelligence Bureau official was quoted as saying. As field-level talks to lower tensions along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh remain inconclusive, the Indian Army has increased its presence in Uttarakhand.

Chinese President Xi Jinping directed China’s armed forces to strengthen training of troops and to be ready for war amid coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic’s visible impact on the world’s most populous country’s national security.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi too held a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs with a focus on bolstering India’s military preparedness to deal with external security challenges, government sources said.

Satellite images show massive construction activity at a high altitude Chinese air base, located just 200 kilometres away from the Pangong Lake, the site of the skirmish between forces of India and China on May 5 and May 6.

Earlier, reports said that the Chinese Army in a recent stand-off with the Indian forces in the Pangosg Tso lake area in Eastern Ladakh sector used sticks, clubs with barbed wires and stones to target Indian security forces’ soldiers there.

According to sources, quoted by News Agency ANI, “the behaviour of the Chinese has been like the Pakistan-backed stone-pelters who use stones and sticks to target Indian security forces in the Kashmir valley.”

“The Chinese troops came armed with sticks, clubs with barbed wires and stones in an area near the Pangong Tso lake during a face-off with Indian troops there,” sources told ANI.

There are close to 10,000 soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Indian territory, reports have claimed.The report said that dialogue is frozen, with the Chinese rebuffing Indian calls for flag meetings to resolve the situation.

Earlier, reports claimed that the Chinese troops have reportedly “come about three kilometres inside Indian territory” South East of the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.

China and India have been locked in a standoff with each other in eastern Ladakh, where the deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent fist-fight on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to “disengage” following a meeting at the level of local commanders.

In the midst of the escalating tension, Army Chief General MM Naravane paid a quiet visit to the headquarters of 14 Corps in Leh on May 22 and reviewed with the top commanders the overall security scenario in the region including in the disputed areas along the LAC — the de-facto border between India and China.


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