In a bid to show its iron fist to the world’s second largest economy, India has redirected at least 50,000 additional troops to its border with China. India currently has around 200,000 troops focussed on the border, a rise of more than 40 per cent from 2020.
Unlike previous military deployment that was aimed at blocking Chinese moves, the redeployment of Indian army is aimed at providing more options to attack and seize territory in China if necessary, stated a report in Bloomberg. This will also help in more troops getting acclimatised to fight in the Himalayas.
Fighter jets including the newly inducted Rafale have also been moved to three distinct areas along the India- China border and Indian Navy is also putting more warships along key sea lanes to study energy and trade flows to and from China.
This is in sync with the Centre’s approach to counter China and ease tensions with Pakistan after the conflict between the Indian and the Chinese troops at the Galwan valley last year.
“The crisis over the last year has brought home the reality to India’s decision makers that China presents the biggest strategic challenge in the future, and it has led to shifting the away from Pakistan,” senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and a visiting lecturer at Yale University Sushant Singh said to the news site.
While there is no clarity on the exact number of Chinese troops along the border, India discovered that the Chinese army moved additional forces from Tibet to the Xinjiang Military Command, responsible for patrolling disputed areas along the Himalayas.
Beijing is adding fresh runway buildings, bomb-proof bunkers to house-fighter jets and new airfields along the disputed border in Tibet apart from long-range artillery, tanks, rocket regiments and twin-engine fighters over the last few months, the news site reported.
While the Centre considers this to be an excellent opportunity to go on the “offensive defense” against China, Lieutenant General and former Northern Army commander DS Hooda believes that too much deployment on either side is extremely risky considering the border management protocols have broken down.