Friday, May 29, 2020

Satellite Pictures Reveal China's PLA Studying Ladakh Terrain To Train For Possible Future Attack

Largest scale model in the world, constructed by PLA in their Helan Shan training area

Satellite pictures have revealed that China has recreated Ladakh’s territorial layout in Helan Shan region to train its forces for possible future attack. Chinese Army studying Ladakh to train PLA for a possible attack in the future. Even as China talks peace, its troops are preparing for an escalation

New Delhi: Satellite pictures have revealed China’s doublespeak on Ladakh intrusion. Despite Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong’s statement that the "Dragon and the Elephant can dance together", Times Now has accessed satellite pictures which shows that China has recreated Ladakh war model in Helan Shan region to study the terrain and train its forces to for possible future attack.

The terrain is dotted with security units, helipads, power plant unit, PLA camps and heavy trucks.

This has exposed China’s doublespeak and its call for peace as it is evident that the PLA is preparing for an escalation.

Before Weidong’s statement, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the overall situation at the border was stable and under control.

Indian Army Will Hold Its Fort, Road Constructions Must Continue

Responding to China’s muscle-flexing at the border, India decided that road constructions must continue and Indian fortifications and troop deployment must match those of the Chinese.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and three service chiefs on Tuesday to review the ground situation in Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in an intense face-off.

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Bridge Over Troubled Waters: India China Standoff Explained


India has matched the China army’s deployment in terms of troops, capacity and resources in eastern Ladakh that is witnessing four simultaneous standoffs between the two armies

India has matched the China army’s deployment in terms of troops, capacity and resources in eastern Ladakh that is witnessing four simultaneous standoffs between the two armies. Here is everything you need to know about the Ladakh standoff.

What Is The Ladakh Standoff About?

China has moved two brigade strength of People’s Liberation Army, over 6000 soldiers and support elements, at four locations in eastern Ladakh, three in the Galwan Valley and one near Pangong Lake. In response, India had also moved an equal number of high-altitude warfare troops to these areas closer to the Line of Actual Control.

Have The Chinese Soldiers Intruded Into Indian Territory?

No. Initial information suggests that the Chinese troops have not expanded the disputed areas of the border either Galwan or Pangong Tso but their presence in large numbers is seen to be adopting an aggressive posture. The troop buildup is China’s response to border projects on the Indian side that would make these areas easily accessible to Indian soldiers and heavy weaponry.

Do The Chinese Attempt To Stall Projects On Our Side?

India is playing catch up with China that has built an extensive border infrastructure and laid metalled roads to connect all military outposts to their base camps. But there have been ongoing efforts by the Chinese army, now and then, to stall projects at Pangong Tso, Galwan and Depsang Plains.

Facts

According to the western sector maps shared by India and China in 2002 on their respective claim line, there are 12 areas of differences in perception of the Line of Actual Control. The maps were never exchanged due to Chinese objections.

These are:

  • Samar Lungpa 176 sq km
  • Trig heights and Depsang bulge 972 sq km
  • Konh Ka La (3 pockets) 56 sq km
  • Pangong Tso (Both banks) 83 sq km
  • Spanggur Gap 24 sq km
  • Mount Sajum 129 sq km
  • Dumchele 40 sq km
  • Demchok 150 sq km
  • Chumar 80 sq km

Indian military records indicate that China is in adverse possession of 33,000 sq km in the western sector through public information is around 38,000 sq km. Apart from this, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq km in Shaksgam Valley to China in 1963.

What Is The Latest Dispute Over?

The first standoff between the two sides is happening around the Pangong lake.

Overlooking the lake is the Sirijap range, which has several cliffs jutting out. These are numbered 1 to 8 by the military. India’s LAC claim line extends to Finger 8. Chinese PLA’s patrol teams normally come from behind Finger 8 cliff and are intercepted by Indian patrol around Finger 6.

Since the Chinese forces are able to spend a considerable amount of time on the Indian side of the claim line before they are detected, the army decided to build a new observation point at Finger 8 that would give Indian soldiers a birds eye view of the area and spot Chinese patrols as soon as they entered the area.

This time, a large number of Chinese PLA soldiers reached the area near Finger 6 where they are usually intercepted to put pressure on the Indian side to halt work at the observation post.

A scuffle broke out between the Indian and Chinese soldiers near the lake on the night of May 5-6 but a flare-up was avoided as both armies stuck to protocols to resolve the stand-off.

And The Other?

The second dispute started over a 60-metre long bridge being built by India in the Depsang Plains across the Galwan rivulet. This point is close to the confluence of the rivulet to the Shyok River. This bridge, once complete, would give soldiers easy access to Daulat Beg Oldie, the last military post south of the Karakoram Pass. In the absence of the road, this outpost is supplied via mule trains from Murgo. The PLA beefed up its presence on its side of the LAC at Patrolling Points 14, 15 and 17. These locations are about six kilometres to the east to the confluence. The Chinese soldiers have not crossed into Indian territory but their posturing is considered aggressive.

Is This Similar To The 2013 Face-Off Between The Two Sides?

Strictly speaking, this time the thousands of soldiers that have been moved by both sides aren’t really face to face as was the case in 2013. But at that time also, the face-off that took place at Ladakh’s Depsang Plains was aimed at browbeating the Indian side into stopping building roads and an observation post in Himachal Pradesh’s Chumar, a day’s mountainous drive from Depsang.

Why Do The Two Sides Keep On Having Border Standoffs?

One reason is the Chinese attempt to stop construction activities on the Indian side. The second reason is linked to the differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control, which in eastern Ladakh, generally corresponds to the position reached as a result of the 1962 conflict.

Are The Two Countries Making Efforts To End The Standoff?

India responded to the belligerence displayed by the Chinese side by moving reinforcements to the border hot spots but underlined the importance of ensuring peace and tranquillity in the border regions.

President Xi Jinping, who is also head of China’s military commission, appeared to amp up the rhetoric this week when he told the military to be prepared for war at the National People’s Congress. But there has been a marked climb down by Beijing. The people’s congress, an annual meeting of China’s ceremonial parliament, ends tomorrow. On Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry stressed that the China-India border area situation is overall “stable and controllable” and stressed on bilateral negotiations at diplomatic and military levels to de-escalate tension at the border.

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What Is China's 'Wolf Warrior Diplomacy', And How Does It Concern India


New Delhi: China is resorting to 'Wolf Warrior Diplomacy' in Ladakh as Indian Army and Chinese PLA look eyeball to eyeball over disagreements on the demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), former Indian Army General tells India TV. In an exclusive conversation, Lt Gen Abhay Krishna has said that China's 'Wolf Warrior Diplomacy' doctrine deals with extracting leverages in any way possible before carrying out traditional diplomacy. 

"China is resorting to Wolf Warrior Diplomacy doctrine wherein it tries to get as much leverage over the other country before carrying out traditional diplomacy," Gen Abhay Krishna said.

The Rajputana Rifles veteran, who has also served as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Delhi Area, also pointed out the Pakistan connection in this face-off. "One must ponder upon the fact the in the last 11-12 years Chinese PLA has been moving westwards. Their exercises and military establishments have been slowly moving towards our western border (Pakistan). This is because Gilgit Baltistan is very critical for China. It is the main stay for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and China has made massive investments there."

He further reiterated that if India gets its hands on Gilgit Baltistan, China will be in a big fix, strategically and economically.


China's Long History of Incremental Occupation of Indian Territory In Ladakh


New Delhi: Even as the Central government has never admitted it, China had occupied 640 sq km of Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh during the second term of the UPA regime under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In 2013, former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, who was at the time Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board (NASB) under the National Security Council of the Manmohan Singh government, after his visit to the region had informed the government that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) patrol had set a new Line of Actual Control (LAC), thus occupying 640 sq km of Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh.

The undemarcated LAC came into existence when China in 1962 occupied Aksai Chin, an uninhabited high-altitude wasteland of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, and now part of the Union Territory of Ladakh. The state was bifurcated into two Union Territories in August last year.

The land grab in 2013 by the PLA happened after India had signed nine agreements, including the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), the same year in March ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India. Incidentally, the proposal for BDCA was presented by China, which had been keen to get it signed before Li's visit.

Though China undermined the agreement soon after it was signed when it led an incursion in Depsang area of Ladakh in April, the standoff at Doklam and now at both Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim) and Western (Ladakh) frontiers between the two countries has left the sanctity of the BDCA in tatters.

In fact, the BDCA, like all other previous bilateral agreements signed by the two sides in 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2012, has remained ineffective in checking Chinese incursions in Ladakh.

On an average, PLA intrusions occur 250-300 times annually and usually during July and August when the weather is favourable. From 2010 to 2013, China made nearly 600 incursions into the Indian side.

Over time, China has only added newer and greater claims on areas in Ladakh, in addition to the known disputed areas over which India and China fought in 1962.

In the 1950s, China had surreptitiously built a 179 km road in the Indian territory of Aksai Chin, which eventually led to a dispute and talks, followed by the 1962 war. After seven decades, from the 4,056 km disputed border between the two countries, China has slowly reduced it to merely 2,000 km in its claims. Apart from the military build-up, China has slowly invested in infrastructure in the disputed areas of Ladakh.

China has maintained that it wants to ‘ensure peace and stability' along the borders without affecting bilateral relations. Even now Beijing and the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi have reiterated the same policy, even as it has only consolidated its position on India's Western frontier in Ladakh.

Agencies

COVID-19 Has Taught Us To Be Self-Reliant: Major Gen Shashi Asthana (Retd) Ot


"There is zero specification in telecom and maybe that is why India is so poor in telecom. Research and development is needed by all sectors”

“There is no revenue right now. There is a very distinct categories of goods now. General development will take place here. Now we have to make systems here to prove our worth. Every company outside is worried about the bottom line,” said Air Marshal Shirish Deo – Vice Chief, Air Staff (Retd.).

At a recent panel discussion with senior members of the defence sector BW Businessworld addressed fundamental aspect of the hindrances, obstacles and fundamental questions such as some of the projects delayed, FDI from 49% to 74%. Down to 30 in squadron from the Air Force point of view. Coming to the army FRCV and FICV, two critical projects are far away. The Navy has done well too but there are still some obstacles in that field as well.

On a slightly different note Jayant Patil - SIDM Chairman, Whole-time Director & Sr. Exec. VP, L&T Defence, said that “There has been a lot of movement on the policy side but of course there has not been much movement on the Indian buying side. The last couple of years saw that nearly 70% now we are buying from outside. It is indicated that there will be money found, not sure when. Those who understand the DPP have it quite easy. Today bi-global is the last area of acquisition. Effective GDP is the need of the hour. If there are no investments, there will be no business so then how will there be any R&D. Without R&D nothing will happen. It is the key. You build an organisation which tomorrow can completely change and be very different.”

Adding to the discussion Major General Shashi Asthana (Retd), Veteran and leading expert, commented,"DPP 2020 is still a draft. The ordinance factory board and 41 ordinance factories, they have been enjoying a certain status. They have not being delivering efficiently, and the excuses they are giving are very uncertain. Private players are also important. Research and development firstly is of utmost importance. We appreciate that R&D is costly, we also appreciate that our procedures don’t allow a fixed order and it does not make an economic sense for any capitalist to put money unless you have a fixed order.

Lt. Gen. R. K. Jagga – Former DGMF Indian Army stated firmly, “I would like to say that the gap between India and China is well known. They have a fast-growing economy. They used their intelligence also. I would not get into the technological gap between us and China, we should see why we aren’t progressing. We have to have a level playing field. We need to ensure collaboration internally.”

Rajiv Malhotra, leading telecommunication and security expert, MD and Founder, Shyam & VNL Telecom, concluded the debate by saying “We should not discriminate. We want the best always and because of that the defence is suffering in terms of money. The ‘best’ is not always so. Some people understand that what the overall process needs and globally a lot has been accomplished. Another thing is true that we have overlooked certain facts. There is zero specification in telecom and maybe that is why India is so poor in telecom. Research and development is needed by all sectors.”


No End To Tense Ladakh Standoff In Sight As India, China Hold Ground


The Indian army, which has matched the Chinese PLA in terms of manpower and resources at the standoff points, has prepped for a long haul and inducted more troops in the theatre

There has been no change in the ground situation or lowering of guard by either sides at the four standoff points between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh sector’s Galwan valley and Pangong Tso areas.

Both sides are holding firm and it is not possible to indicate at this time when the status quo ante will be restored, people familiar with the development told Hindustan Times on Thursday.

Yesterday, the Chinese foreign ministry had played down the tense standoff along the Line of Actual Control, insisting that the situation was stable and controllable and the two sides were in touch with each other at different levels.

The seemingly conciliatory approach articulated by the Chinese side has not reflected in the ground situation.

Three of the standoff points are located around Galwan valley and the fourth, near Pangong lake. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army had moved soldiers to close to these four standoff points that are seen to be an effort to stop India from upgrading its border infrastructure, particularly 60-metre long bridge across the Galwan rivulet or nallah and an observation post near the Pangong lake.

The Indian army has deployed reinforcements at the four standoff points without halting work on the border infrastructure work including the concrete Galwan bridge being built as part of a 255-km road to access Daulat Beg Oldie, the last military post south of the Karakoram Pass.

“Nobody can question India’s right to build roads, bridges or airfields in its own territory. The infrastructure upgrade is continuing and will not be paused in eastern Ladakh,” an Indian official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reviewed the situation along the LAC at a high-level meeting this week.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Chief of Defence Services General Bipin Rawat are overseeing the Indian efforts at multiple levels. On their radar is also the activity on the western border with Islamabad after reports that the Pakistan army had moved troops in the neighbouring Gilgit Baltistan region that it illegally occupies.

The Indian army, which has matched the Chinese PLA in terms of manpower and resources at the standoff points, has prepped for a long haul and inducted more troops in the theatre. Another set of soldiers are undergoing the acclimatisation process to give the soldiers posted at the standoff sites a break before returning.

Officials said China on the other hand, has also beefed up its defences in Aksai Chin area, both to handle ground and aerial adversaries.

It has upgraded its dual-use military and civil airfield at Ngari Günsa airport about 60 km from the LAC as part of this exercise where the PLA’s air force has been flying J 11 jets, widely considered to be China’s version of the Russian Sukhoi 27 fighters.

The other airfields in the vicinity of LAC are Yarkand 320 km from the LAC, Hotan is 240 km, Kashgar is 450 km while Korla is 600 km from the LAC.


India Won’t Allow Change of Status Quo On Line of Actual Control


Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane made a low-key visit to Ladakh last week for a security review as tensions grew between India and China

India won’t allow any alteration of the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the build-up of Chinese troops will be faced with “strength and restraint”, people familiar with developments said on Tuesday against the backdrop of a high-level security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi met National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat to assess the situation along the LAC amid a tense standoff between thousands of Indian and Chinese troops, especially Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.

“The bottom line is that we will not allow any change in the status quo on the LAC. That we will not permit,” said one of the people cited above, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We have faced similar situations in the past, and we will face this situation with strength and restraint,” the person added.

In many ways, India’s position is a reiteration of the stance it adopted during the 73-day standoff at Doklam in 2017, when Indian troops dug in and stood their ground in the face of a rapid mobilisation by the Chinese side.

The people reiterated the external affairs ministry’s contention of May 22 that all activities by Indian troops were on the Indian side of the LAC in the Ladakh and Sikkim sectors. They also repeated the ministry’s accusation that it was Chinese troops that were hindering normal patrolling by Indian forces on the Indian side of the LAC.

“The Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC. The Chinese have raised similar objections and made similar attempts [to hinder the activity of Indian troops] in the past too. Their motives and intentions in the current circumstances are not clear,” the person said.

“But we are very firm and very clear – there have been no violations by us,” the person added.

A second person, who too spoke on condition of anonymity, said India’s construction activities in forward areas will not stop because of the standoff.

The people said the Indian side is facing the current stand-off with firmness and has deployed appropriate resources, even as it works on peaceful resolutions.

Responding to speculation about the efficacy of strategic guidance issued after the informal summits at Wuhan in 2018 and Mammallapuram in 2019 for maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border, the people said established mechanisms for dealing with such issues continued to be in place and both sides were in touch at diplomatic and other levels to address the situation.

“Normal diplomatic contacts, at various levels, are underway,” the first person said, declining to go into details.

The standoff on the LAC is expected to figure prominently on the agenda of the three-day army commanders’ conference that begins on Wednesday, officials said. Army chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane will chair the meeting.

“The apex level leadership of the Indian Army will brainstorm on current emerging security and administrative challenges and chart the future course for the army,” an army spokesperson said.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday reviewed the situation in the Ladakh sector of the LAC during a meeting with the chief of defence staff and the three service chiefs.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) plans to complete all 61 strategic roads assigned to it along the border with China by December 2022, officials said. These roads are spread across Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and will allow swifter mobilisation of troops and stores to forward areas.

China is believed to have marshalled close to 5,000 soldiers on its side of the disputed border in Ladakh sector, where India has also sent military reinforcements to strengthen defences amid the growing tensions on the LAC.

Indian and Chinese soldiers are eyeball-to-eyeball at four locations along the LAC and several rounds of talks between local military commanders have failed to end the standoff that began with a violent confrontation between rival patrols three weeks ago near Pangong Lake.

Sending the military reinforcements, including troops, vehicles and heavy equipment, did not require much effort as China diverted resources from an ongoing military exercise in the region, officials said.

Naravane made a low-key visit to Ladakh last week for a security review as tensions grew near Pangong Lake and three pockets in Galwan Valley, where Chinese troops have pitched close to 100 tents and erected temporary structures to establish a presence.

HT was the first to report on May 10 about tensions flaring between India and China in north Sikkim, where 150 soldiers were involved in a tense clash a day earlier. Four Indian and seven Chinese soldiers were injured at Naku La during the confrontation.

Around 250 soldiers from the two sides also clashed near Pangong Lake on the night of May 5-6, with the scuffle leaving scores injured. While an immediate flare-up was avoided as both armies stuck to protocols to resolve the situation, tensions spread to other pockets along the LAC.

The latest standoff is not confined to a small area, and has triggered an increase in troops at multiple locations on both sides and seems to suggest a greater design rather than adventurism by local commanders, as reported by HT on Sunday.

The external affairs ministry said last week the Indian side remained firmly committed to the common objective of maintaining peace and tranquillity in border areas, as this is an essential prerequisite to further development of India-China relations.


We Are Engaged With China To Resolve Border Row: India On Donald Trump's Offer To Mediate


In the midst of the tense border standoff between India and China, Trump on Wednesday said he was 'ready, willing and able to mediate' between the two countries

NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday said it was engaged with China to resolve the border issue while reacting to US President Donald Trump's offer to mediate between the two countries to settle the festering dispute.

"We are engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve it," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, replying to a volley of questions at an online media briefing.

In a surprise move, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday offered to "mediate or arbitrate" the raging border dispute between India and China, saying he was "ready, willing and able" to ease the tensions, amid the continuing standoff between the armies of the two Asian giants.

Trump previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, a proposal rejected by New Delhi which maintains that there is no role for any third party in bilateral issues.

"We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!" Trump said in a predawn tweet.

Trump's unexpected offer came on a day when China took an apparently conciliatory tone by saying that the situation at the border with India is "overall stable and controllable."

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said both China and India have proper mechanisms and communication channels to resolve the issues through dialogue and consultations.

In New Delhi, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said China and India should never let their differences shadow the overall bilateral ties and must enhance mutual trust.


India China Border Row: Don’t Read Too Much Into China’s Statements


Indian Army trucks transport Arjun MBT near Indo-China LAC

NEW DELHI: The Army top brass kicked off an operational review of the overall security situation on Wednesday, even as the military assessment was that Chinese soldiers will have to unconditionally withdraw from Indian territory in eastern Ladakh for the “conciliatory” messages now emanating from Beijing to have any real meaning.

Defence sources said it would be a folly to “read too much” into the statements made by the Chinese foreign ministry as well as its ambassador on Wednesday till there is actual de-induction of People’s Liberation Army soldiers who intruded 1-3 km into what India considers to be its territory in eastern Ladakh. “Words have to translate into action on the ground,” said a source.

Around 1,200-1,500 PLA troops are currently engaged in the four to five virtually eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations on the northern bank of Pangong Tso (Tso means lake), Demchok and the Galwan Valley region across a broad frontage of the unresolved Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The PLA has also amassed additional troops within its territory near the face-off sites, diverting well over 5,000 soldiers from an exercise it was holding in the region.

With the Indian Army more than matching the Chinese deployments, there has been no breakthrough yet in the almost month-long military stalemate despite several rounds of talks between rival major-general, brigadier and colonel-level officers on the ground.

Hectic diplomatic negotiations had also finally defused the major 73-day military face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Bhutanese territory of Doklam, near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, in June-August 2017.

But the fallout has been that the PLA has permanently stationed troops and built military infrastructure and helipads in north Doklam since then. “This time, the confrontation is on what we perceive to be our territory,” said a source.

This will be a top consideration in the three-day Army commanders’ conference, which is being chaired by General MM Naravane and attended by the senior Lt-Generals heading the six operational and one training commands of the over 12-lakh strong force. “There will be brainstorming on the operational situation and challenges along the border as well as administrative matters during the conference,” said an officer.

The worry is that China has been dragging its feet in either “clarifying” the 3,488-km long LAC stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, which would reduce face-offs, or setting up the long-pending hotline between top military commanders like the DGMO one between India and Pakistan.

Similarly, the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) inked between India and China in October 2013, which specifically prohibited either side from “tailing” each other’s patrols in areas where there is “no common understanding” over the LAC, has not also really been made operational on the ground till now. The top-level hotline, in turn, was first proposed in the BDCA and then agreed to during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to China in 2015.


India, China Prepare For Long Haul as Satellite Images Show Heavy Troop, Vehicle Movement In Ladakh


New Delhi: India and China say they are using diplomatic channels to deflate border tension but the heavy movement of troops and vehicles suggest otherwise. The Asian giants have been in a conflict over infrastructure development near the Line of Actual Control.

Satellite images show strategic movements of Indian and Chinese troops, the upgrading of air bases and aircraft movements along the 4,057 km Line of Actual Control. The images also reflect the work of digging trenches and preparing bunkers above Pangong Lake and at the Galwan Valley.

​The satellite image published by open source intelligence firm ShadowBreak Intl, show heavy vehicular activity from China’s People’s Liberation Army over the past three week near the Hotsprings Sector, which is 15 km from India’s Gogra base and 6 km from the Line of Actual Control — the de facto border that divides the two nations.

Satellite image shows that this unit size is the largest seen so far with several vehicle tracks.

The first week of May three empty areas near the base; the second week shows units on site and movement in one of the three areas and the third week shows units on a third empty area.

​China has been rapidly developing military its airbase at Ngari Gunsa in Tibet. A large area parallel to the 4,500 metre runway has had earthworks going on since April 2020, probably a second runway. The base is 200 km from Pangong Tso and 340 km from the Galwan River.

​The high resolution images show four Chinese J-11 and J-16 fighter jets at the high altitude Ngari Gunsa base.

Images from Pangong Tso show the People’s Liberation Army across the Line of Actual Control with boats and tent accommodation.

​The developments along the border have come following clashes between the troops of both armies at Pangong Tso. China had raised an objection over the infrastructure development along the 4,057 km Line of Actual Control.

However, Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh, while chairing a high level meeting with three service chiefs and the Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, directed the army to continue the ongoing infrastructure development projects on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

India has been constructing 61 highways along the LAC and several passes in the Himalayan region to improve access to the border.


Donald Trump Mediation Offer: Will Troubled Beast of East China See Reason?


Trump has recently taken too many potshots at Xi before tweeting his offer to mediate between India and China in the wake of tension at the LAC in Ladakh. Donald Trump has offered to mediate between India and China. China has been making aggressive postures in Ladakh. China has followed "Salami Slicing" policy to expand its territories

It is safe to estimate that US President Donald Trump is not diplomatic in his diplomacy, which he often expounds bluntly on Twitter. In one of his latest tweets, Trump offered to mediate or arbitrate between India and China.

India is now experienced in shrugging off his mediation offers. It is definitely new for China, a country that has been on the target of Trump over a range of issues - trade, strategic defence and now Coronavirus pandemic. Trump even called it China virus.

Trump may already know that India will not react to his offer. What he might not have considered seriously before tweeting his offer is that China is as unpredictable as he is himself. Now that Trump has the backing of the UN, a look at how China deals in land becomes imperative.

China is the only country that is expanding its territory at the cost of its neighbours in post-World War II time. Russia could be a possible exception for having annexed Crimea. But as inheritor of the USSR, it has lost far bigger territories.

The communist China is still in expansion mode. Its official policies still call for forcible occupation of Taiwan, a country with vibrant economy but little international recognition after it was thrown out of the UN in 1971.

Taiwan is fiercely guarding itself against China since 1949-50, when the Koumitang party rule was toppled by the Communist Party of China, which invaded a defenceless Buddhist territory of Tibet and occupied it militarily.

A decade later, China invaded India, which was in for shock after historic friendship treaty, and occupied territories in Ladakh (Aksai Chin) and some parts in Uttarakhand.

Building pressure on Pakistan, China later forced it to cede territories in northern Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir - now officially part of Union Territory of Ladakh - in return for peace along line of control.

This Chinese policy of territorial expansion has been dubbed by Geo-Strategic experts as "salami slicing", under which China first announces claim on some territory and then uses force to capture it.

This is how China seized Paracel Islands (1972) and Johnson Reef (1988) from Vietnam, Mischief Reef (1995) and Scarborough Shoal (2012) from Philippines in the South China Sea.

China has also seized territories from Bhutan, a country which is known for consistently topping the happiness index. It is the same policy that prompts China to claim Senkaku Island in the East China Sea. As of now, the island belongs to Japan.

China waged war with erstwhile USSR over a river island between Chinese Manchuria and Russian Siberia. The war ended in stalemate. But after USSR broke up, Russia bought peace by recognising Chinese control over Zhenbao island in 1991.

Coming back to Trump's mediation offer, it stems from his own estimation of his statesman skills that paid him good returns in business but little in international diplomacy, including his North Korean adventure.

Having failed to tackle COVID-19 situation up to people's expectations in the US, Trump thinks India-China mediation can boost his candidature in the presidential election this year. Indian and Chinese Americans are over 2.5 per cent of the US population. His efforts are bound to generate goodwill in the US.

The only problem is China has far too much bad blood running all around. Its border dispute with India is only a small part where Trump is trying to get into.

The US is already into China's Taiwan and Hong Kong problems. The US is supplying arms to Taiwan to upgrade its defences against an anticipated takeover mission by China later this year.

Trump wants China to back off from the proposed revocation of autonomous status of Hong Kong. China has decided to end "one country, two systems" rule under which it took control of Hong Kong from the UK in late 1990s.

The US has threatened to end special trade and diplomatic status it has granted to Hong Kong if China goes ahead with its plan. This will only intensify the ongoing trade war between China and the US.

There is more, a Coronavirus connection. The US has blamed Chinese communist leadership for COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan becoming a global pandemic. Trump has repeatedly called for holding China responsible for it.

Incidentally, it is Australia that emerged as the symbol of anti-China bogey on Coronavirus pandemic. Australia demanded an international probe into the origin of Coronavirus outbreak. The demand left China fuming.

China has responded by "punishing" Australia, of which it is the largest trade partner. It has banned import of beef from Australia. Beef is a major export item for Australia, which is the second largest exporter. China also imposed an 80 per cent tariff on barley - another major export item - from Australia.

Trump considers Australia a great friend. And, China knows it. Trump calls himself a great friend and admirer of India, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. China knows it too. But Trump now-a-days says he does not feel like talking to Chinese President Xi Jinping. You guessed it right, China knows that as well. Still, there is an offer from an apparently intemperate diplomat president to what could be called the troubled beast of the east.


'Muscular' Chinese Policy To Have Impact On Its Ties With India, Other Nations: US Diplomat


The US is currently involved in a tense showdown with China on the issue of trade, the origins of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, Hong Kong and other issues

WASHINGTON: China's new "muscular" policy will have an impact on its ties with India and other nations, a senior US diplomat has said, underlining that the world is finally recognising that Beijing is "pushing" a form of "problematic" governance.

The US is currently involved in a tense showdown with China on the issue of trade, the origins of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, Beijing's new security crackdown in Hong Kong and the communist giant's aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea.

The actions China is taking "are going to have impact, and not just in - across the Straits", Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

"It's going to have impact in Southeast Asia, it's going to have impact with its neighbour India, and others.

This newly muscular and aggressive approach is going to make the defence minister's job a lot harder," he said.

Stiwell was responding to a question on the statement made by the Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe over the weekend that the Sino-US strategic confrontation has entered "a period of high risk" and "we must strengthen our fighting spirit and use fighting to promote stability".

Fenghe's remarks came amid rising tensions between China and the US, and souring ties between Beijing and Taipei.

China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam claim parts of it.

Stilwell said the world is finally recognising that China is "pushing" a form of government that "many only now are beginning to recognise as problematic".

"This most recent step from the National People's Congress in walking away from its obligations with respect to Hong Kong only demonstrates that more clearly," he said.

China on Friday last introduced the draft of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong in its Parliament to tighten Beijing's control over the former British colony, in what could be the biggest blow to the territory's autonomy and personal freedoms since 1997 when it came under Chinese rule.

Hong Kong, an economic powerhouse, is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.

It has observed a "one country, two systems" policy since Britain returned sovereignty to China on July 1, 1997, which has allowed it certain freedoms the rest of China does not have.

"The way they've done that is they are the Chinese Communist Party, but they know what that communist word the baggage it brings, and so you hear them speaking a lot about socialism with Chinese characteristics. It just sounds nicer.

"But we need to get past the nice language and face what we're up against," Stilwell said.

"This is an authoritarian system. It prefers to negotiate with others on a position of strength using a might makes right stance both domestically with its own people and internationally, as I mentioned before, with economic levers and other things," he added.

The diplomat said the recent events have shown that Beijing seeks more global prominence and they want that to go with their newfound wealth and economic help that they've been using.

"In the process, though, they've gained additional scrutiny," he said.

In October 2017, the 19th Party Congress Work Report said China will move closer to the centre of the global stage.

This process has moved their authoritarian system closer to the limelight as well, where many now have come to see what Xi Jinping's, quote, governance idea looks like, and increasingly people don't really like what they're seeing, Stilwell said.

"So we're all faced with an authoritarian government that we thought had been relegated to history," he said.


Should America Worry About China's Shiny H-20 New Bomber?


While there is much still to be known about the H-20, there are many reasons why U.S. weapons developers are likely to take it very seriously

by Kris Osborn

China appears to be preparing to unveil its new H-20 stealth bomber, an emerging platform expected to massively extend China’s attack range and present a rival platform to the U.S. B-2 and emerging B-21.

Quoting “military sources,” a report from The New Zealand Herald said the new and still somewhat mysterious H-20 bomber could make its first public appearance at this year’s Zhuhai Airshow in November—depending upon how things progress with the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

The H-20 could, of course depending upon its technological configuration, bring a new level of threat to the United States, for a number of reasons.

For instance, the New Zealand report says the new supersonic stealth bomber could “double” China’s strike range. Interestingly, although much is still not known about the platform, its existence was cited in the Pentagon’s 2018 and 2019 annual “China Military Power Report.” The 2019 report specifies that the new H-20 will likely have a range of “at least 8,500km” and “employ both conventional and nuclear weaponry.” 

The report cites 2016 public comments from People’s Liberation Army Air Force Commander General Ma Xiaotian announcing the development of the H-20, and saying the weapon could emerge some time in the next decades. Well, sure enough, the next decade is here and early renderings appear to parallel some of Xiaotian’s comments about Chinese intentions for the bomber. According to the Pentagon’s China report, he said the H-20 will “employ 5th generation technologies.”

An ability to engineer and deliver fifth-generation systems into the bomber may remain to be seen to some extent, as much is still unknown, yet the Chinese have already engineered several potentially fifth-generation aircraft with the J-20 and J-31. At the very least, the exterior does appear to be stealthy; it looks like it has an embedded engine, blended wing body, absence of vertical structures and engine air ducts woven into the frame underneath the fuselage. The B-2, by contrast, has air ducts emerging from the top of the fuselage, however many design features unequivocally seem to resemble a B-2. The Pentagon report observes that “a possible H-20 prototype depicted a flying wing airframe akin to the B-2 bomber and X-47B stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle.”

A reported range of 8,500 kilometres appears slightly less than a B-2 bomber’s range of more than 6,700 miles, Pentagon reports have raised concerns that the Chinese “may also be developing a refuel-able bomber that could “reach initial operating capability before the long-range bomber.” 

Perhaps of even greater concern, according to the Pentagon assessment, is that such a refueler could “expand long-range offensive bomber capability beyond the second island chain.” A refueler could also substantially change the equation and enable it to rival the mission scope of a B-2 which, as many know, successfully completed forty-four-hour missions from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to Diego Garcia, a small island off the Indian coast during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

As for its ability to compete with a B-2 or B-21, there may simply be too many unknowns. However, a few things do come to mind. The B-21 airframe, for instance, appears to have little or almost no external exhaust pipes, raising the question as to whether it incorporates new thermal management or heat dispersion technologies. A key goal, when it comes to designing stealth bomber airframes, is to work toward having it mirror or align with the surrounding temperature of the atmosphere so as to be less detectable to thermal sensors. Also, while much of the B-21’s details remain “black” for understandable reasons, senior Air Force leaders have said the platform contains a new generation of stealth technologies and can “hold any target at risk in the world at any time.”

This indicates that there may be a high measure of confidence that the new B-21 will be able to succeed against the most advanced current and anticipated future air defence systems. An ability to elude both surveillance and engagement radar in a modern technical environment would be quite an accomplishment, as advanced Russian air defences such as the S-400 and S-500 contain a new generation of technologies. Not only do they use digital networking to connect radar nodes, rely upon faster computer processing and track aircraft on a wider sphere of frequencies, but they also claim to be able to detect “stealth” to a large degree. This may remain as of yet unproven, as it is something touted by the Russian media, yet it has inspired U.S. weapons developers so seek newer paradigms for stealth technology. Also, the sophistication of these advanced air defences may be one reason why, at least when it comes to stealth fighters, senior Air Force weapons developers describe stealth as merely “one arrow in a quiver” of methods to evade and destroy enemy air defences. Nonetheless, there is no available evidence to suggest a new B-21 would have any difficulty against the most advanced air defences; debates along these lines are likely to persist for years, at least until much more is known about the B-21. Air Force officials say the B-21 will be virtually “undetectable,” something which may very well be true.

Finally, it may not even be clear that China’s new H-20 bomber could even fully rival the U.S, B-2. While the B-2 may be thought of as a somewhat antiquated 1980s built platform, years of Air Force upgrades have vastly changed the performance parameters of the airplane. The B-2 is now being engineered with a so-called Defensive Management System sensor designed to find locations of enemy air defences—and thus fly around them. The B-2 is also being outfitted with a new one-thousand-fold faster computer processor and being configured to integrate new weapons platforms such as the modern, upgraded B-61 Mod12 nuclear bomb. Finally much like what is reported about the H-20, both the B-2 and B-21 are engineered to carry and fire long-range nuclear and conventional cruise missiles, such as the Air Force’s emerging Long-Range Standoff Weapon.

Overall, the current B-2, which is now being engineered to fly alongside the B-21 until sufficient numbers of B-21s are available, is nothing like the aircraft which initially emerged in the late 80s. Along these lines, both the B-21 and B-2 are built with the often discussed “open architecture” strategy intended to lay down the technical apparatus sufficient to sustain perpetual upgradeability.

Ultimately, while there is much still to be known about the H-20, there are many reasons why U.S. weapons developers are likely to take it very seriously. For instance, if the H-20 can extend beyond the first island chain, as the New Zealand report maintains, then it can not only hold the Philippines, Japan and areas of the South China Sea at risk, but also threaten Hawaii, Australia and even parts of the continental United States.


WHO Drafts Resolution Lets China Off The Hook Totally


The WHO draft resolution sponsored by 61 nations, including India, is an eye-wash, as it lets China off the hook completely. Trump faulted WHO for having done “a very sad job” and said he was considering whether to cut the annual U.S. funding from $450 million a year to $40 million

by Kapil Sibal

The WHO draft resolution sponsored by 61 nations, including India, is an eye-wash, as it lets China off the hook completely. There is no call in it for any independent investigation into COVID-19 origins. China or Wuhan is not mentioned directly or indirectly in the text. The words “transparency” and accountability” are missing too. That would explain Russia’s support. India had no reason to opt-out of an anodyne draft. With China now supporting it, there is no reason for Beijing to be upset by India’s position. 

The word “as appropriate” is mentioned in critical parts of the draft, which provides a lot of discretion in implementing the operative paragraphs. Even data is to be shared “as appropriate”, which implies that China has no obligation to share the data at its disposal as the source of the virus. WHO is to work, not with China, but with the World Organisation of Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organisation to identify the Zoonotic sources of the virus and its transmission to the human population through “scientific and collaborative field missions” to reduce the risk of “similar events and prevent the establishment of new Zoonotic reservoirs” etc

This is looking to the future, not probing what occurred in Wuhan and China’s handling. It would be misleading to interpret the call to initiate a step-wise process of “impartial, independent, and comprehensive evaluation” to “review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19… and the actions of the WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic” as China-directed. It is directed at the functioning of the WHO to “improve global pandemic prevention, preparedness” etc, with the future in view.

Australia had shown considerable political grit in pursuing its call for an independent investigation into the origin of the virus and seeking transparency, notwithstanding boorish diplomatic threats of trade sanctions by China and opposition from domestic business circles tied to the Chinese market. The EU, which has China-friendly member countries, has been ambivalent about putting China on the mat, which is why even in the G7 meeting, US pressure to identify Wuhan as the source of the virus was resisted to the point that no joint statement could be issued.

The EU-led proposed resolution reflects this disinclination to press for transparency and an independent international probe. Its foreign affairs spokesperson has opposed playing any blame game when the immediate need is to focus on combating the virus. The upshot of all this is that China, while imposing heavy tariffs on Australian barley exports, has mocked Australia on losing the battle for an independent probe. China has no doubt scored diplomatically in the tussle at the WHO, and may feel emboldened to continue its disruptive policies.

The world order is in a flux, and growing US-China rivalry will shape its contours. China as the source of the virus and the US as its biggest victim will get increasingly locked in confrontation, which has become broad-based with technology denial moves by the US. Trump has made a strategic error of alienating the Europeans, whose active cooperation is needed to curb China’s ambitions. New world order is not for tomorrow; the present fluidity will continue, with the US and China as the principal protagonists.The impact of China’s hegemonic ambitions on India will remain a serious problem, requiring, as before, engagement and hedging. While lines with China should remain open, the links with the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and others who have concerns about China’s authoritarian rise should be strengthened.


Don't Believe India-China Will Go To War As It Will Turn Into A World War: Ex-Army Chief JJ Singh


New Delhi: Former Army Chief JJ Singh on Thursday spoke to India TV during its special #CommandersConference on India-China tension at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and said that both the countries constitute 1/3 of world population, therefore, if India-China goes to war then it won't be a war between just two countries but will be a world war.

Ex-Army Chief JJ Singh added said India is a responsible nation and believes that the current stand-off with Beijing won't result in a war. He added the world knows India is a democratic and responsible nation, therefore, it will take our (India's) side rather than subsiding with China.

Also, speaking in the conference, former Chief of Army Staff Gen Ved Prakash Malik (Retd) said that the Indian Army is capable of giving a befitting reply to the Chinese counterparts if it comes to that, while also reiterating that it is unlikely that this situation will escalate towards all-out war.

Gen VP Malik said that India's Army is modernised and China should not hold any illusions of it being in the same state of battle readiness as in 1962. 

"India is in a position to give befitting reply to China. The PLA should not hold any illusions about Indian Army's battle readiness. We are not the army from 1962. I am fully confident of our defence capabilities," the general said. 

He further added, "I do not think there will be an all out war. We must be prepared for skirmishes in certain areas but the chances of war are highly unlikely."