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

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  • On to part 3 and final one of the series, i guess the embargo lifted couple days back so we got the three parter : )

    Not Pangong or Galwan, why India must worry about Hotsprings-Gogra region most | Print | Jun 03 2020

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    Map above shows both Indian (red) and Chinese (yellow) interpretations of the LAC stencilled by hand onto the layout of the area. Four points of interest are marked with yellow pins.

    The Indian base can be seen at the south, whereas two points of concern (POC) can be seen to its north and one point of concern to its east.

    All 3 POCs are well inside the Chinese side of the LAC.

    In our scans of the area, we were not able to detect any intrusions by the Chinese across the red line in map above. We did, however, notice several Indian and Chinese minor posts, with probably no more than 3 to 5 persons each, facing the red line within their respective territories.

    No Chinese post was observed between the red and yellow lines.
    In all three of his articles AIM maintains the Chinese never transgressed into our side.

    A classified and proprietary report in the possession of the Ministry of Defence, seen by us, notes the Chinese buildup in detail, which has been described here.

    The two northern points (in the map above) show a pool of offensive equipment. Armoured vehicles and their support vehicles can be seen (marked armoured pool) in the northern-most point. The southern of the two points, a little closer to the Indian border, shows significant gun emplacement (marked towed artillery unit).

    The point marked ‘armoured motor pool’ shows a set of constructions and vehicles. What is interesting is that the northern vehicle cluster comprises 10 clearly visible infantry combat vehicles of the Russian BMP (Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty) type. These are highly mobile vehicles on tracks, with large calibre guns that stood out despite these vehicles being covered by tarpaulin. Given their location in the valley and their mobility, they could ingress into the Indian territory in short order.

    At the point marked ‘towed artillery unit’, a powerful artillery emplacement of 12 large-calibre field howitzers (152 or 155mm calibre) can be seen. At no point, in the time series surveillance of these platforms, was the position or the orientation of the field artillery changed. The orientation of these artillery pieces is not towards the Indian camp, but could, within minutes, be reoriented.

    The eastern point turned out to be a large permanent base of concrete with several mobile shelters, tents, trucks, earth-moving equipment and a concrete slab with a shed that could easily function as a large helipad and hangar – holding about four to six helicopters at any given time. Significantly, there are 11 BMP-type infantry combat vehicles. Given that this is a concrete base, the additional tents and mobile shelters indicate that the beefing up of this base was recent and the troops brought in were a temporary augmentation.

    Looking at all three points, the Chinese have clearly deployed a significant force — between 1,000 to 1,500 Chinese troops, or a battalion and a half, and firepower.

    Moreover, the classified and proprietary Ministry of Defence report states that this particular build-up started around the first week of May and reached its peak around the third week, once the situation started flaring up in the public discourse.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 04 Jun 20,, 20:52.


    • I do find an issue with a couple of AIM's maps. His location of Finger 7 differs from Col. Dinny. He has placed it too far to the east.

      Now there is a Chinese base near where he points to in cyan but that is the Sirijap base. And he has not located this base properly.
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      Col. Dinny said we patrol up to Finger 8 which is the extent of our claim line. Therefore there can be no Chinese base at Finger 7 as the Chinese would not otherwise allow us to patrol up to that point.

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      So the base is to the east of Finger 8 in his map.

      Going back to AIM's map from part 1 we can see why, he places Fingers 6, 7, & 8 much further to the east

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      From Dinny's map we can see Finger 8 is where AIM shows Finger 5 to be.

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      Looking at the 1992 era pentagon map, it shows the indian claim line much further to the east. This matches the red line on AIM's first map in this post. But the fingers are not identified on the Penatagon map.
      Last edited by Double Edge; 05 Jun 20,, 01:21.


      • Some history as to why we don't go as far as the Indian claim line. It seems that Dinny's numbering of the fingers is the right one.

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        • Lt. General talks to be held Jun 6 as lower level attempts to resolve the dispute have not worked. We should not be in a hurry to settle and make it go away.

          What was the objective of this exercise ? if its to test our response then its a preparation for something else.

          If its to convey the message they can do whatever whenever its a very expensive way in which to do it.

          Jaydev thinks planning for this op would have taken place in March at the earliest given its wide ranging scope along the LAC.

          Snehesh asks him whether India should see Doklam as a success from a military & strategic interests point of view as there are reports that the Chinese continued building and we just let them be. Jaydev points out that the road building stopped and status quo was maintained. The Chinese did reinforce their positions but did not add any more. The road building stopped as agreed which makes sense otherwise why would we then back off after demanding so.

          XJP faced a backlash after the disengagement in Doklam wherein the Global Times asked about this big strong army that XJP wanted to create. There was also a rumour going around in Beijing that China paid India 20 billion yuan to disengage which resulted in denials having to be made by the People's Daily, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign affairs.

          The biggest test is what progress has China made with Bhutan since. Yeah, talks are on like they were before Doklam. There still isn't a Chinese embassy there nor official relations established. Had Doklam been the Chinese success that Indian opposition hacks paint it as then shouldn't these have been forthcoming soon after ? Chinese didn't gain ground as a result of Doklam. They are still where they were before Doklam and the experience still rankles certain sections of the PLA.
          Last edited by Double Edge; 05 Jun 20,, 02:15.


          • LAC standoff: India eyes 4-pronged plan for Lt-Gen level talks with China

            Amidst standoff, China appoints new commander for troops overseeing India border
            Last edited by Oracle; 05 Jun 20,, 13:22.
            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!


            • I don't expect any progress until Modi & XJP meet.

              Jul 21 - 23 is the BRICS summit in Russia

              With Doklam they wound up the standoff just before the BRICS meet in Sept 2017 which was held in China.

              Looks like it will be Vlad that gets to mediate : )


              • Another discussion on SNG with one of the founding generals from XIV corps

                Nitin explains the Galwan incident. Trying to build a feeder road from the Darbuk - DBO road to Patrol point 14 and the Chinese objected. Note that China already has a road leading to that point with just another 7km left to finish. It's not clear to me on this map where our road to Patrol point 14 begins.

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                General mentions the importance of road leading to DBO is an area known as sub sector North. Earlier DBO could only be reinforced by plane or a three day trek to the area. We now have a road leading there which means we can bring troops to that area of the Depsang plains quite quickly.

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                That area is of strategic importance as it leads to the Nubra valley which is our LOC to Siachen. Losing that area entails losing control of the Siachen glacier and others around. At the same time the area also leads to Aksai Chin which allows us to sever Tibet from Xianjiang for them.

                Since 2012, the tactic was come at several points, squat there for a month then retreat but make an advance in one point which is the condition for restoration of status quo. It won't be so easy this time where their plan one would think is to build camps between F-4 to F-8.
                Last edited by Double Edge; 06 Jun 20,, 01:25.


                • India's defence secretary tests positive for Covid-19 | TOI | Jun 04 2020

                  In a development that has unsettled the country’s top defence establishment in South Block on the Raisina Hill complex here, Union defence secretary Ajay Kumar has tested positive for Covid-19.

                  Sources said defence minister Rajnath Singh and some other top military and civilian officers did not attend their offices on Wednesday after the report of Kumar testing positive sent shock waves down the corridors of South Block.

                  “Extensive contact tracing and major disinfection of offices in South Block is underway. There is a list of around 30 people who came in close contact with the defence secretary over the last couple of days. They have been told to go into self-quarantine,” said a source.

                  The defence secretary is part of virtually all meetings summoned by the minister, while also regularly interacting with the military brass. His office is located on the first-floor of South Block in close proximity to the minister’s office.

                  Offices of the Army and Navy chiefs, General M M Naravane and Admiral Karambir Singh, are some distance away on the same floor.

                  While the office of first-ever chief of defence staff, General Bipin Rawat, is temporarily housed in the basement of South Block, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria sits in the nearby Vayu Sena Bhawan.
                  Heard its asymptomatic so hopefully he should recover and soon
                  Last edited by Double Edge; 08 Jun 20,, 21:17.


                  • China has captured 60 sq km of Indian land!

                    What are military satellites for? Why the hell was the mountain strike corps not raised? Why is India always bending backwards to the communists? Whenever Chinese media talks about 1962, why doesn't any single F govt. spokesperson remind the Chinese of 1967? Such pathetic management. I thought a******* in the GoI would understand what happened to Tibet, so that another Ladakh doesn't happen. Why do we always talk with the Chinese? Why not evict them forcefully from our land? The Indian government doesn't have any shame. First they were sleeping, now they are talking. Why spend billions of dollars on defence, if the objective is to talk. Why? These F politicians have ruined India. British went away, leaving these 3rd rated people as politicians.

                    Rajnath Singh is the most incompetent minister in Modi's cabinet. I said it before, now it's proven. The Army chief should take over for a period of 20 years. We need martial law for 20 years. Yes, I'm saying this.
                    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!


                    • At this time of the year, when the risk of Chinese intrusions is highest, it has been customary for the army's Udhampur-based Northern Command to move reserve formations into the area, ostensibly for 'training exercises'.

                      But this year, reserve troops were retained in their peacetime locations because of the pandemic.

                      PLA soldiers that have established themselves at the mouth of the Galwan River valley at its confluence with the Shyok River are just one-and-a-half kilometres from the DSDBO road.

                      The PLA apparently intends to dominate this road permanently.
                      Paks thought they could keep their gains as well : )

                      Within the army, there is growing concern that New Delhi will allow the Chinese to retain the territory they have occupied in the last month.
                      No, that will not happen for free. We will have to stike a deal. Concessions for clear demarcations along the LAC.

                      Cannot continue with this differing perceptions nonsense which they can change whenever they want.

                      If this doesn't work we can do the same to them anywhere along the LAC where we have an advantage.

                      Failing that we will have a little skirmish and physcially evict them from the area.

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                      So now the govt has told the people of its intent and in a loud way.
                      Last edited by Double Edge; 09 Jun 20,, 13:09.


                      • If China plays its cards right nothing will happen

                        India has largest, most experienced mountain army in the world, says Chinese military expert | HT | Jun 09 2020

                        “At present, the world’s largest and experienced country with plateau and mountain troops is neither the US, Russia, nor any European powerhouse, but India,” wrote Huang Guozhi, senior editor of Modern Weaponry magazine.

                        Huang’s article published in is a rare critique of an Indian army wing in Chinese media, which usually takes the more nationalistic tone of brandishing its own capabilities along the border with India.

                        Huang’s take was nuanced.

                        “Mountaineering is an essential skill for almost every member of the Indian mountain army. To this end, India even recruited a large number of professional mountaineers and amateur mountaineers from the private sector,” Huang wrote.

                        “With more than 200,000 troops in 12 divisions, the Indian mountain force is the largest mountain fighting force in the world,” Huang wrote.

                        Huang said that since the 1970s, the Indian military has established and expanded the size and personnel of the mountain army on a large-scale, and also plans to create a mountain strike force of more than 50,000 troops.

                        Giving the example of the Siachen Glacier, Huang wrote: “The Indian army has set up hundreds of outposts in the Siachen Glacier area with an altitude of more than 5,000 metres, with 6,000 to 7,000 fighters stationed. The highest post has reached 6,749 metres.”

                        Huang didn’t mention the source of the information but went on to give a list of weaponry that the Indian army has deployed in the mountains suitable to high-altitude battles.

                        “In terms of equipment, the Indian military, through procurement from abroad and domestic research and development, has equipped a large number of main battle weapons adapted to the combat environment of the plateau and mountains.”

                        “The Indian military has also spent heavily on advanced heavy equipment from the US including the M777, the world’s lightest 155mm-towed howitzer, and the Chinook heavy transport helicopter that lifts the gun, to boost its fire support and anti-armour capabilities”.

                        Huang also mentioned the high-calibre sniper rifles that Indian soldiers deployed at high-altitudes are now equipped with.

                        The author also listed shortcomings of the Indian army mountain troops including lack of self-sufficiency in weaponry and ammunition especially needed for western weaponry.

                        “In addition, there are many conflicts and differences between the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. This has also led the Indian Army to decide to equip its own US-made AH-64E Longbow Apache attack helicopters instead of relying entirely on airfield support from the air force,” Huang wrote.


                        • WOTR articles are always packed full with links : )

                          Tension high, altitude higher: logistical and physiological constraints on the indo-chinese border | WOTR | Jun 08 2020\

                          Operating above 4,000 meters, as both the Indian Army and the PLA are well aware, changes nearly every aspect of warfare. Soldiers take days to acclimatize to any altitude above 2,400 meters (slightly higher than Santa Fe, New Mexico), so the rate at which reinforcements arrive may be slower than the speed of their means of transport. The risks of ascending too quickly are dire: Even young and healthy soldiers are at risk from “acute mountain sickness,” pulmonary edema, and cerebral edema. Ascending slowly diminishes but does not eliminate health risks.

                          After acclimatization, soldiers move slower at high altitudes than they do at sea level, must carry lighter loads, and consume more calories to sustain themselves. The diesel engines that power trucks and armored vehicles, likewise, are less efficient and less powerful at 4,000 meters.

                          Resupplying soldiers under these conditions is a massive undertaking. Doctrinal standards from Argentina’s Mountain Infantry, for example, indicate that a single company consumes 5000 kilograms of supplies per six days of operations, or, roughly one sea-level maximum-load sortie for an Mi-17 helicopter (common in the Indian and Chinese armies) per week.

                          Given that all helicopters have lower maximum loads at high altitude, however, sustaining a single brigade for a week at high altitude would require roughly 24 sorties for a Mi-17 — each company would require two sorties per week.

                          Sustaining large forces at high altitudes for extended periods of time, like the brigade-sized units China has allegedly surged toward and — in smaller numbers — across the Line of Actual Control, would be extremely costly and potentially infeasible during the winter as flying becomes riskier and road passage less efficient.

                          Even shooting is harder. The Indian Army learned during the Kargil war in 1999 that rifle rounds and artillery shells fly differently at high altitudes. Artillery batteries need altitude-specific firing tables to put shells on their intended targets, and infantry soldiers need to re-sight weapons and practice in the thin air. At the extreme heights in Ladakh and Sikkim, soldiers’ eyesight changes. Low air pressure can induce corneal distortion (causing nearsightedness), diminish low-light vision, and degrade depth perception.

                          Even if altitude were not a factor, the terrain along the India-China border would still complicate military operations. The Himalayan Plateau is not flat like the central front in Europe, nor necessarily tank-drivable like the deserts in Iraq or along the border between western India and southern Pakistan. A relief map of the Doklam plateau (disputed in 2017) shows the extent of the terrain challenge that both armies face. Ridges on the “plateau” rise as high as 4,300 meters, over valley floors that, less than 10 kilometers of map distance away, are as low as 2,400 meters. The situation in Ladakh is similar, and in both sectors, China’s side is generally “uphill” and flatter. Pangong Lake sits at an already-high 4,100 meters, but the peaks that rise less than 10 kilometers from its banks top 6,500 meters — higher than the operating ceiling of many helicopters.

                          Climate, too, poses unusual challenges for military operations. While the summer weather in Ladakh is pleasant enough for tourist camping, winter lows in the minus 10s and 20s Fahrenheit are not uncommon, and high winds are frequent. Winter temperatures bring the threat of frostbite and hypothermia-related attrition of forces, and even render some equipment useless as lubricants freeze and barrels on tubed artillery may crack. In eastern sectors of the border, different climate challenges complicate military operations: The monsoon rains in Arunachal Pradesh (some of the heaviest in the world) regularly cause landslides that cut lines of communication and render troop movement impossible.

                          If, as Clausewitz wrote, “in war the simplest things become very difficult,” then war at altitude borders on impossible. Increased friction in key tasks during a high altitude dispute — moving to the contested area, tactical movement on the battlefield, and sustainment operations — shapes the way standoffs and skirmishes develop, and constrains the possible consequences. Terrain and environment, as the third belligerent in the Sino-Indian border dispute, promotes low-level instability but constrains escalatory potential.


                          • Ashley mentioned China moved troops into the area under the cover of exercises. So I wondered when these exercises began and ended. It seems like it was beginning of Jan until the end of Feb. So they stuck around for a month and then went to their positions.

                            Why China’s Growing Military Might in Tibet Should Worry India | Diplomat | Mar 03 2020

                            By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
                            March 03, 2020

                            Last month, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engaged in a major military exercise in the Tibet region. The engagement showcased some of the latest weapons in the Chinese military inventory and also spotlighted its deployments in the region more generally.

                            According to reports, the exercise last month in Tibet witnessed the deployment of several key aspects of Chinese military capabilities, including the Type 15 light battle tank and the new 155 mm vehicle-mounted howitzer. A Chinese military analyst speaking to the Global Times said that both “had powerful engines, allowing them to maneuver efficiently in Tibet’s terrain.” The same Global Times report also stated that the PLA Tibet Military Command had deployed helicopters, armored vehicles, heavy artillery, and anti-aircraft missiles across the region, from Lhasa, which has an elevation of around 3,700 meters, to border defense frontlines at an altitude higher than 4,000 meters.

                            These developments were by no means surprising. Indeed, the PLA has been beefing up its overall combat proficiency in the last few years by engaging in training and joint exercises, especially in high-altitude regions, with implications for how China’s military operates and how other actors in the Indo-Pacific region respond in kind.

                            With respect to Tibet in particular, the PLA has been doing a number of exercises in Tibet, and the frequency seems to be increasing. Close to a decade ago, in 2011, the PLA conducted two joint exercises at the group army level in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), with the goal of practicing employing a division-size force in a truly integrated manner, involving armor, artillery, and the PLA Air Force (PLAAF). There were also reportedly network-centric operations in a high-intensity electromagnetic environment practiced during this exercise. A J-11 regiment was sighted engaging in night-combat training in Tibet in August 2015.

                            Beyond individual exercises and more broadly, these developments demonstrate the growing air infrastructure in the TAR, including civilian airports, many of which are used by the PLAAF. These exercises have continued to grow bigger and more sophisticated. Even amidst the Doklam crisis in 2017, the PLA was engaged in a joint military exercise on the Tibetan plateau to test agility and combat proficiency in tasks such as assaults on enemy positions.

                            China’s engagements are part of an effort to step up their combat proficiencies in Tibet. More specifically, they address a significant lacuna of the PLA – lack of recent operational experience. These exercises have also focused on bringing about true jointness and integration in military operations. In addition to these exercises, there are other indicators of increased PLA activity in the TAR. For example, from 2013 onwards, PLAAF aircraft and helicopters have been sighted doing increased patrolling. Since 2013, troops coming to sectors opposite the Ladakh sector have been instructed to only travel by air and not by road, though the implications of this is unclear. Since April 2015, there have been increasing PLAAF activities, with J-11 and Su-27 aircraft of the PLAAF engaged in periodic exercises in the TAR.

                            From an Indian perspective in particular, China’s military efforts in the TAR are of grave concern. Even though this was the first major exercise of the PLA in 2020, there has been a significant increase in PLA engagements in terms of military training and exercises in the TAR over the last decade. The fact that Beijing has established all-weather physical border infrastructure in these areas has enhanced its ability to project military power in the region.

                            Additionally, the PLA is also known to have set up many military camps close to the border areas with periodic deployment of forces in these camps. This would imply that the PLA remains relatively acclimatized to the high-altitude conditions prevalent in the region, whereas on the Indian side, most forces responsible for the Sino-Indian border areas are in the plains of Assam.

                            This is a challenge in itself, but the bigger worry for New Delhi should be the growing number of Chinese military exercises in the TAR. The PLA has been engaged in many single-service and joint military exercises to validate several operational concepts.

                            The increase in the frequency and complexity of the PLA exercises in the TAR could also be an indicator of things to come. The fact that the Chinese state-run media are publicizing these exercises in Tibet is possibly an effort to send a signal to India and a demonstration of the overall better combat proficiency of the PLA. New Delhi cannot afford to ignore them.

                            Clearly, the tempo of China’s military activities in the TAR is growing, and it is likely to lead to even greater efforts on the Indian side. Though the Doklam confrontation ended peacefully, the preparations being undertaken by both sides suggest that the next one may have a different outcome.

                            Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan is Distinguished Fellow and Head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), one of India’s leading think tanks.
                            Hmm, her article is prescient for the beginning of March and has an ominous ending.

                            She has written a longer paper on the subject a month earlier.

                            PLA joint exercises in Tibet: Implications for India | ORF | Feb 26 2020

                            She emphasizes how much better prepared China is operationally & logisticaly to give them an advantage in the earlier stages of any conflict. Critiques BRO for slow delivery of projects.
                            Last edited by Double Edge; 09 Jun 20,, 19:09.


                            • Hmm, a withdrawal from all points of concern by the PLA. Why ?


                              • The reason they deployed more into the finger area is last October our patrol bypassed the main road from 4 instead went over the mountain to reach finger 7.

                                This freaked them out as they thought were moving behind their lines and was the trigger for them to move up to finger 4.
                                Last edited by Double Edge; 10 Jun 20,, 02:10.