Although India and China have completed nine rounds of military talks on disengagement in East Ladakh, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is showing no signs of de-escalation all along the 3488 km Line of Actual Control with increasing deployment of artillery guns, self-propelled howitzers, and surface to air missile units in Tibet.
According to national security planners, the PLA is undertaking fresh deployment and relocation of both troops and heavy equipment in all three sectors with fresh constructions of revetments (sloped protection against ordinance) in the finger area of Pangong Tso.
South Block has presented a piece of evidence that indicates the fresh deployment of 35 heavy military vehicles and four 155 mm PLZ 83 self-propelled howitzers in sheds around Shiquanhe PLA camp, just 82 kilometers from the LAC across Chumar in East Ladakh.
Additional deployment of vehicles, heavy equipment, and new construction work has been observed last month near Rudok surveillance facility, 90 km from the LAC, with four new large sheds and partition quarters for troops. Both Rudok and Shiquanhe are in the occupied Aksai Chin area.
According to Indian army commanders, there has been a marginal increase, new revetments, and relocation of deployments between finger four and finger seven on the north banks of Pangong Tso. It was the Chinese PLA aggression on finger 4 mountainous spur on the north banks of Pangong Tso on May 5, 2020, that led to a horizontal escalation of military tensions between PLA & the Indian Army.
While there has been the induction of 20 military vehicles and equipment observed around a radar site, 16 km from the LAC, the PLA is also strengthening positions around Spanggur Tso with the induction of more firepower and troops in late December 2020. The PLA is strengthening its defenses along the 1597 km LAC in Ladakh with a view for long term deployments.
The fortifications around Spanggur Tso are designed to support Moldo Garrison in Chushul area with Indian Army dominating heights in Kailash Ranges,” said an official in the know of the military deployments.
The PLA has also moved a surface to air missiles (SAM) unit near PLA camp in Lhasa, 228 km from the Indian border, to protect once the seat of the 14th Dalai Lama with some 30 vehicles moving the military equipment under camouflage in second of January 2021. Fearing an IAF attack in hinterland Tibet, the PLA has deployed SAM units and anti-aircraft guns around all major towns all along the LAC.
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While a new military shelter comprising 4-5 barracks has been observed across Lipulekh pass in the middle-sector, the presence of PHL-03 multi-barrel rocket launchers at Rubinkha PLA camp just 23 km from India-China-Bhutan tri-junction is a matter of serious concern as PLA is continuing to push in the strategic area.
Besides, there is increased Chinese military activity at the India-China-Myanmar tri-junction across the Fish Tail area in Arunachal Pradesh. While the Indian Army with the help of Borders Road Organization has increased connectivity and capability in all sectors, the Western Theatre Command of PLA continues to mount tension on the LAC.
This aggressive military posturing by PLA sheds a light on CCP's future intentions of a long-term deployment along the Indo-China border to put pressure on the Indian side. PLA along with the Pakistani military is trying to divert India's attention along its land borders, so that PLAN (People's Liberation Army Navy) can increase its Influence in the Indian ocean.