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Border face-off: China and India each deploy 3,000 troops

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  • 2 months into Doklam standoff, assessing China’s strength

    Loose-cannon special forces officer Leng Feng emerges from his seaside retreat, to the applause of a grateful nation, when a cartel of arms dealers and mercenaries begin to lay waste an impoverished African country. Fighting to save aid workers and innocent civilians, he fights his way past the enemy with underwater kung-fu, evades an armed drone and destroys battle tanks. The plot of China’s highest-grossing blockbuster, Wolf Warrior II, seems familiar, because it is: this is Rambo with Chinese characteristics.

    Few in the audience today would recall Li Cunbao’s 1982 novel, Gaoshan xia de huahuan (‘Wreaths of flowers at the foot of the mountains’), which tells the story of the soldiers who fought China’s last real war. The brave company commander at the centre of the story leaves his wife and baby a frock, used uniforms, and a debt of $ 380 — 10 times his pay.

    Even fewer would have seen Tamen zheng nianqing (‘In their prime’), banned in 1986, a gritty anti-war film on soldiers holed up in a limestone cave, and their desperate battle to survive.

    The 12,192 soldiers killed in the China-Vietnam war, mainly the sons of poor peasant families, have no place in official Chinese history. The war revealed stark problems in China’s military, though, many of which continue to haunt the People’s Liberation Army.

    For weeks now, China has been threatening India with terrible retribution for what it claims is trespass into its lair on the Doklam plateau. There are more than a few in India genuinely worried by the aggression — part of a pattern of intimidation that has forced Japan to scramble its fighters more often than at the height of the Cold War, and sent Vietnam into the arms of arch-enemy United States. Like so much to do with military power, China’s great strength is part steel and part illusion. The dragon may indeed breathe fire — but it has enough teeth and claws missing to not want to fight.

    When Beijing began to wake to modern warfare in the wake of the 1984-85 conflict, the PLA was a lumbering peasant army: its main tank was the 1950s-design T-55, the bloated 3.5 million-strong military lacked modern vehicles and arms, and the Air Force and Navy were barely capable of coastal defence.
    The growth of the military budget — which, it bears mention, has consistently hovered around 2% of Gross Domestic Product, the global norm — has helped drag the PLA into the 20th century, but only just.

    Paul Dibbs, an Australian defence expert, points out the country’s state-of-the-art Type 95 submarines will only be as stealthy as the 1980s Soviet titanium-hulled Akula-class. China’s Dong Feng 21D anti-ship ballistic missile has yet to hit a target moving at realistic speeds. Large parts of the Air Force and Navy are still made up of obsolescent types.

    For years, the most critical challenge before the PLA has been transforming itself into a modern force. Impressive pay, promotion and education reforms have been made, though competition from China’s private sector has meant military service is far from the first career choice for the country’s brightest.

    There are more than a few, moreover, who are sceptical of the combat qualities of this new cohort of PLA officers — products of China’s one-child policy, which spawned a generation derisively referred to as “Little Emperors”. PLA newspapers are replete with stories of new recruits using boarding-school tricks like spitting out red ink to avoid training.
    “I’d hide under my blanket and cry every night,” former cadet Sun Youpeng, who joined the PLA after graduating from university at the age of 22, told Minnie Chan of the South China Morning Post in 2014.

    Liu Mingfu, a scholar at China’s National Defence University, estimated in a 2012 report that 70% of the PLA’s troops were only sons — a number rising to 80% among combat troops. In a country with a growing cohort of aged people, with ancient cultural norms against sending only sons to war, the consequences could be significant, Liu noted.

    President Xi Jinping, since he took office in 2013, has urged the PLA several times to “prepare for combat”. PLA journals themselves, though, a RAND Corporation study for the United States Congress recorded in 2015, are “replete with references to problems in such areas as personnel, training, education, organisation, logistics and maintenance”. Despite the battle against endemic corruption in the PLA, few believe it has been wiped out.

    “Let our field armies touch the buttocks of a tiger,” China’s Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping reportedly said as he ordered the military to action in 1984, hoping to blood his troops and demonstrate “our military is still good enough”. The truth, however, was that Deng’s own economic reforms had brought about a crisis in the PLA. Xiaoming Zhang’s magisterial history of the China-Vietnam war notes that fewer soldiers joined the army during that decade than at any previous time — and were less than willing to die.

    In some cases, the crisis of morale bred low farce: elements of the 67th Army, on their way out of Laoshan, demanded $ 1,500 from their 47th Army replacements for all intelligence on enemy positions and firepower. In another case, an armoured unit which did not receive care packages despatched its tanks to surround an infantry division headquarters and demand its share.

    Like in India, there is no shortage of voices in China that appear not to see the distinction between strategic analysis and Wolf Warrior II: articles advocating short, sharp wars to settle the country’s border conflicts are commonplace in the media.

    For serious Chinese thinkers, though, that line of action comes with serious risks: failure to achieve a decisive victory would not only embarrass the PLA, but also dent the credibility of the political leadership and encourage Beijing’s regional adversaries to engage in further acts of defiance. In the long term, China may indeed become a military adversary its regional adversaries will have to defer to — but that time is not now.

    In 415 BC, Athenian hawks made the case for invading Sicily by insisting that “it has always been the law that the weaker should be subject to the stronger”, an argument that will be familiar in Beijing today. On the disaster that followed this hubris, the historian Thucydides wrote: “Sicily would fear us most if we never went there at all.” This, he explained, was because “that which is farthest off, and the reputation of which can least be tested, is the object of admiration”.

    For China’s strategic community, these ought be words to ponder: in war, unlike films, the end of the story is impossible to script.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


    • General overview of geography

      Eight ways to enter India from Tibet. Tawang does not look as safe as i thought. Some planning required there

      Which airfields are good for what. Too often i read text with no illustration let alone maps and have to use my imagination. Major takeaway from these high altitude airfields whilst they may not allow takeoff of heavy loads they most certainly allow landing heavy loads which would then have to move via roads to the required areas.

      Easy to follow and gives the layperson a tactical view


      • Defending Tawang ? air power with standoff weapons. Chinese have their biggest military presence along the border here. If China wants a short sharp war with results to show then grabbing Tawang could suffice

        Chinese presence near Nathu La isn't as large as near Tawang

        Future land grabs possible at Barahoti if India isn't watching

        Long supply route to Aksai China makes it vulnerable

        Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Aug 17,, 19:04.


        • Earlier article in the Bhutanese press about efforts to resolve the border dispute.

          Bhutan-China Border Mismatch | Bhutan News Service | Jan 01 2013

          As long as China cannot have 100 sq Km of Doklam in West, no other gift seem to please her. As the differences kept growing, China kept increasing her claim deeper down the northern [Bhutan] border.
          So you see the pressure tactics on Bhutan here over the years.
          Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Aug 17,, 19:05.


          • /\/\/\ A lot of effort and analysis went into those vids. I have watched them all earlier. Shiv did commendable work. As far as your question, let's for the time being assume that the powers that be, has taken into consideration all points of slippage from a military point of view and have solutions ready, unless we're proved wrong. Also now people can see why it is not so easy to fight in the Himalayan terrain.

            I was watching the "Undercover in Tibet" video again, and........HR abuses.....forced religious freedom.......torture etc.....I think the communists are the worst form of evil in the present world. It's shameful that even powerful countries have routinely turned a blind eye to that side of the Chinese government.

            One more thing to note is, the commies say that the Dalai Lama is a separatist. The holy man till date have always advocated for a non-violent movement for the autonomy of Tibet. I have Tibetans friends in India and abroad, the newer generation, and most of them share the same view - Dalai Lama won't live forever, and then they would be forced to rise up against the commies with arms. It's just a matter of time.
            Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


            • Amid Doklam standoff, Indian troops foil China's incursion bid in Ladakh

              Unaware of scuffle between PLA, Indian troops in Ladakh: China
              , LOL.
              Last edited by Oracle; 16 Aug 17,, 09:49.
              Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


              • Now they're waiting for the right pretext to attack, when they are ready of course. Expect more of these.


                • Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
                  Now they're waiting for the right pretext to attack, when they are ready of course. Expect more of these.
                  It's been almost 2 months, how much time does the superpower need. The attack would be unexpected (time, area), which should be expected since it's not 1962 anymore nor are the socialists in power.
                  Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


                  • Indian forces bracing for ‘shallow intrusions’ by Chinese troops

                    NEW DELHI: The Indian forces are bracing for more "shallow intrusions" or "needling probes" from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in vulnerable spots along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), according to sources in the Indian defence establishment.

                    This assessment comes even as the two forces held a border personnel meeting (BPM) in eastern Ladakh on Wednesday to calm down tempers, a day after Indian and Chinese soldiers pelted stones at each other near Pangong Lake.

                    The PLA is unlikely to try anything near the already restive Sikkim-Bhutan-Sikkim tri-junction because Indian troops are militarily much better-placed there and can easily threaten China's narrow Chumbi Valley in the region, if required, the according to India's assessment. "But the PLA could try something in eastern Ladakh, as was seen on Tuesday, or eastern Arunachal Pradesh or Lipulekh Pass and Barahoti in the central sector (Himachal-Uttarakhand)," one of the sources said.

                    The Indian defence establishment, however, is sticking to its belief that China will not risk a full-fledged war despite its major build-up of troops, artillery, air defence, armoured and other units in the southern part of the Tibet Military District that falls under the Western Theatre Command (WTC) of the PLA, after the Doklam confrontation erupted on the eastern front in mid-June.
                    The stepped-up "needling" in some areas along the 4,057-km LAC, which stretches from Ladakh to Arunachal, will be part of the PLA's game-plan to ratchet up pressure on India to unilaterally withdraw from the face-off site in the Bhutanese territory of Doklam before winter sets in November-December. "India is ready for mutual troop withdrawal to defuse the stand-off. But China is not. So, our troops are prepared for the long haul," said the source.

                    But the channels of communication are also being kept open, with some sweeteners thrown in for good measure. Though the PLA declined the invite for the August 15 celebrations at different BPM points on the LAC, Indian soldiers did hand over "sweets" to their Chinese counterparts at multiple locations, including Doklam, on Tuesday.

                    On Wednesday, at the longish BPM held at Spanggur Gap in Chushul sector of Ladakh in the afternoon, official sources said the two armies led by brigadier-rank officers discussed the "incident" at the Pangong Tso (Tso means lake) as well as the need "to strengthen the existing mechanism to maintain peace and tranquility" to avoid confrontations.

                    Usually, the troops pull back after some jostling and banner drills in the disputed "Finger-5 to Finger-8" (mountainous spurs) area on the northern bank of the 134-km long Pangong Tso, two-thirds of which is controlled by China as it extends from Tibet to India.

                    But on Wednesday, they hurled stones and used iron rods to injure each other for the first time in recent years, in a clear indicator of the tense situation prevailing along the entire LAC. Pangong Tso, which is located at an altitude of 13,900-feet across the Changla Pass, and other areas like Chumar, Trig Heights and Depsang in eastern Ladakh have emerged as major flashpoints over the recent years.

                    Indian troops till some years ago were at a huge disadvantage in the Pangong Lake, saddled as they were with old patrol boats. There were even a few instances of faster and sturdier Chinese boats ramming into Indian ones to disable them. But after the Indian troops inducted 17 new high-speed interceptor boats, each of which can carry 16 to 18 soldiers, they have been conducting strong reconnaissance and area domination patrols in the region over the last few years.
                    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


                    • Doklam stand-off: Japan backs India, says no one should try to change status quo by force

                      Japanese ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu's observation on Doklam comes two months after Indian troops stalled Chinese road construction activities and is seen as endorsing India's stance as being impor tant for a peaceful resolution.

                      The Japanese reaction follows two separate interventions by the US calling for direct dialogue between India and China to resolve the crisis while cautioning against unilateral changes on the ground. This, too, has been seen as supportive of India's point of view.

                      The US has also indicated support for India by tagging the Hizbul Mujahideen and its leader, Syed Salahuddin, as sources of terror, a snub to Pakistan and its benefactor, China.

                      Saying Japan was watching the situation closely , Hiramatsu said it had the potential to affect regional stability. "As far as India's role is concerned, we understand that India is involved in this incident based on bilateral agreements with Bhutan. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has made it clear that India would continue to engage with dialogue through diplomatic channels with China to find a mutually acceptable solution. We consider this attitude towards peaceful resolution important," Hiramatsu said.
                      Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


                      • India is quietly preparing to end Chinese businesses' free run here

                        Anti-dumping duty on 93 products from China: Nirmala Sitharaman

                        Chinese media warns of trade war after India imposes anti-dumping duty on 93 products
                        Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


                        • Bhutan never gave up claims on Doklam: Foreign minister Damcho Dorjee
                          Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


                          • China Faces Split Into Seven Parts

                            Just a reminder to stand vigilant against nonsense propaganda … (a key give-away: using “Jinping” as if it were Xi Jinping’s family name)

                            by Yatish Yadav, Indian Defence News, Aug 17, 2017

                            NEW DELHI: Balkanisation of China seems to be imminent. The so-called unity within the Chinese Communist Party is in tatters as all three factions are involved in a bitter feud. This is likely to intensify in the coming months, triggering the beginning of a revolution and then disintegration of the country into seven independent territories.

                            [Utter nonsense. Xi Jinping is the most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping. The pending 19th National Party Congress will be a “We Love Xi” congress.]

                            The Shanghai faction, led by Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao-led Beijing faction are caught in a covert war with Zhenjiang faction, led by President Xi Jinping, and each one is trying to eliminate the influence of the other in the dirty political game. And, behind the scene is a massive labour unrest, pro-democracy protests against the present regime that hardly find mention in the highly-censored national and international media.

                            [Typical Chinese political games. There’s nothing new here, except how poorly Jiang Zemin (age 91, for God’s sake!) has been able to protect his people. Still, the children of the Shanghai Faction leaders have been well protected.]

                            Spies and analysts closely monitoring the growing turbulence in China believe that the collapse is likely to be expedited as unprecedented crackdown against opposition and disappearance of lawyers and human right activists is causing massive chaos in the Chinese hinterland.

                            [“Massive chaos in the Chinese hinterland” ? Any other fairy tales?]

                            Unprecedented crackdown on opposition and disappearance of lawyers and human rights activists is causing massive chaos in the Chinese hinterland. “Thanks to brutal control over media, China has managed to mute news reports about hundreds of protests in provinces. But some underground activists have provided details on what we now know as a major uprising against the Xi Jinping regime ahead of 19th National Congress of the Communist Party,” sources said.

                            “China is finally reaching a tipping point and Xinjiang, Manchuria, Hong Kong, Tibet, Chengdu, Zhangzhung and Shanghai could turn into free nations after a Chinese revolution.” They added that the Chinese government is trying hard to keep the focus on the Doklam standoff and North Korea’s nuclear posturing against the US to rally support for Jinping. Teng Biao, China’s best-known human rights activist and lawyer, told The Sunday Standard from New York that China is escalating the standoff and Jinping is using the occasion to galvanise his dwindling support base.

                            [Utter nonsense. The mere thought of dividing the nation would serve to unite it even more closely. Any tiny suggestion of division – like in Hong Kong recently – is met with a full-on barrage of condemnation. Oh, and Teng Biao is far from “China’s best-known human rights activist and lawyer.” And, far from a neutral, professional political observer. Still, to give Mr Teng credit, he didn’t actually say what this propaganda says he said.]

                            Teng said some anti-India demonstrations in China are being sponsored by the ruling Communist Party. He also said pro-democracy activists are quietly working to engineer a revolution against China’s one-party rule to install a democratic government.

                            “We don’t know whether it will take five or 10 years. It is clear that we are not waiting but preparing for another revolution like 1989. Despite the crackdown on social media and blogs by the Jinping regime, activists and lawyers are using other medium to ship out information and assist the revolution,” Teng said.

                            “The main objective of the Chinese Communist Party is absolute monopoly by any means but we have strengthened the rights groups since early 2000 that have given us the possibility for revolution. The Communist Party, led by Xi Jinping, is also facing major crises between party and people, and an economic crisis.”
                            Trust me?
                            I'm an economist!


                            • Originally posted by DOR View Post
                              Just a reminder to stand vigilant against nonsense propaganda … (a key give-away: using “Jinping” as if it were Xi Jinping’s family name)

                              by Yatish Yadav, Indian Defence News, Aug 17, 2017
                              Click bait title. Looks like IDR sourced it from here

                              The author isn't familiar to me. China scholars regularly seen on tv are Sreekanth Kondapaly, Jabin Jacob and Alka Acharaya
                              Last edited by Double Edge; 18 Aug 17,, 11:34.


                              • Gradual move. Nothing too dramatic. Anti dumping duty is par for the course even with countries that don't currently have a standoff with China.

                                See how GT hyped it up. So far China has been quiet on trade sanctions rather its India that seems to be hinting at it. The FM herself in parliament a few weeks ago. India - China trade is around $70 billion with close to 60 in China's favour so huge trade deficit there.

                                In comparison with other countries, take UK, Cameron meets the Dalai lama in 2012, soon after China puts the UK on a diplomatic freeze for 18 months. When Liu Xiaobo got the nobel peace prize, Norwegian salmon imports to China were sanctioned immediately.
                                Last edited by Double Edge; 18 Aug 17,, 11:50.