Chinese dig in, deploy artillery and tanks on LAC - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Friday 12 June 2020

Chinese dig in, deploy artillery and tanks on LAC

PLA organises “border talks” 3.5 km inside Indian-claimed territory

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 13th June 20

With no indications of Chinese troops withdrawing from Indian territory they occupied last month in Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday met the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat and the army, navy and air force chiefs to review the situation.

On Tuesday, Major General Abhijit Bapat, who commands the infantry division that defends the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in this sector, held talks with a Chinese general in an attempt to defuse tensions and encourage Chinese troops to withdraw. 

Despite that, sources on the ground say the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is only strengthening its hold on 60-odd square kilometres of disputed territory that it has illegally occupied.

So determined is the PLA to hold on to the crucial Galwan River Valley that it held talks with the Indian military a full 3.5 kilometres inside Indian-claimed territory, well west of the LAC. With the mountain tops on either side of the Galwan River occupied by the Chinese, the PLA is dominating not just the Galwan River, but – at its junction with the Shyok River – the crucial Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) highway that connects the army’s so-called Sub-Sector North (SSN) with the rest of Ladakh.

Indian Army and Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) situation reports (sitreps), intelligence reports and satellite photos show that PLA troops have not pulled back even in areas where Indian troops have been deployed to physically block further Chinese ingress.

Indicating that China is preparing for escalation, the PLA has deployed artillery guns in at least six locations between Pangong Tso and the Gogra Heights, on the Chinese side of the LAC. At each of these locations, the PLA is also building new hut-like structures, suggesting the PLA is preparing for a long confrontation.

North of the Galwan Junction, PLA troops remain in a heightened state of readiness opposite Jeevan Nalah.

And in the northern-most segment of the Sino-Indian border, near the Depsang Plain where a confrontation had taken place in 2013, there is growing concern over the visible presence of Chinese tanks and armoured vehicles across the LAC.

Along the northern bank of the Pangong Tso, the Chinese are making it clear they have no intention of withdrawing from Finger 4 – which the PLA is now treating as the LAC, having advanced 8 kilometres into Indian territory which is claimed to begin at Finger 8. 

The Chinese soldiers at Finger 4 are continuously preparing their defences – digging trenches and building bunkers. These are visible from the blocking positions that Indian soldiers have taken up between Finger 4 and Finger 3, just a few metres away from the ITBP’s Administrative Post.

Chinese troops have also deployed on the dominating crests of the five ridgelines that run down to the Pangong Tso – Finger 4 to Finger 8. These commanding heights are now being fortified with bunkers and defences built with cement and stone. The PLA has built huts as in these locations as well.

On the Pangong Tso, Chinese troops in motorboats are patrolling the lake more aggressively. The PLA motorboats now regularly cross the so-called Fox Hole Point, at the base of Finger 4, which they almost never did earlier.

In the area around Hot Springs, where the Indian Patrolling Point 15 (PP 15) is located, the Chinese have begun building roads into the Indian territory they have occupied. These new Chinese roads crossed the LAC, into the Indian side, three days ago. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese are activating other border areas as well. The usually peaceful border between Tibet and Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand is witnessing an increasing militarisation, with a significant Chinese build up and more aggressive patrolling.

Indian technical intelligence is also finding that the Gar Chongsar Airport, near Ngari Gunsa, which is just 200 kilometres from Pangong Tso, is being equipped with better military infrastructure. Located 14,000 feet above sea level, Ngari Gunsa airport is the westernmost of Tibet’s four airports -- Lhasa, Nyingchi and Qamdo.

After the Doklam confrontation of 2017, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) began stationing fighter aircraft, including Shenyang J-16 and J-11 fighters, at Ngari-Gunsa airport. Now that airport is being given a greater combat capability.

However, given the payload and range limitations for fighter aircraft taking off from airfields at altitudes of 14,000 feet, the Indian fighters that operate from airfields in the plains continue to enjoy a combat advantage.

In the last two days, India has signalled that peace and tranquillity on the LAC was essential for developing good relations with China. Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry stated that both sides had agreed to ease the month-long face off through military and diplomatic channels.

On the ground, however, China has not withdrawn an inch, or withdrawn its claim over the territory it has occupied.


  1. We should ready the nukes integrate warheads with missiles, Pakistani jets are rehearsing for attack.
    Nepal's active , so it's better build Agni ICBMs than Rafales . Hell of we go out let us take the world with us .
    It's better to die than suck up to China and Pakis...,

    1. Tumhare ye nukes diwali ke patakhe nahi hai. Warmongering band karo.

    2. Any sentence that begins with "It's better to die" does not end well for anyone. Our species has survived war, famine, disease, fascism and colonialism, etc, which is why you are alive today. Would you prefer that your ancestors had decided to end the human race instead of enduring all those horrors and large & small grievances?

  2. "Entire Situation Along Border With China Under Control": Army Chief... NDTV Report

    As per your report, the situation is very alarming and uncomfortable....

    GOI should throw some light on the ground situation in Ladakh

  3. Sir could we use military option to throw the chinese out?

    1. Yes yes why not. But isn't indian military already there. Trying military option resulted in 20 dead 🤕

  4. The Chinese are trying to take DBO out of the equation for India, thereby taking a strategic advantage.
    I don.t understand how our side can stand by and talk about solving it 'Diplomatically'. The enemy is on your land. First throw them out and then talk of talks. Depressing and disgusting at the same time.

    1. All parties to remember, esp GofI, AIM is to cut d Khunjerab Highways linking Pak, utilizing DBO,Siachen,Drones & Def Satellite hts, using missiles,Bofors, 81mm, using 2x exclusive Mtn Div with Scouts & SFF, Chakrata guides!

  5. Can the indian army take on PLA in the Himalyas.if you can post an article on this

    1. definitely on paper or on tv they can. 😂

  6. Ajay,I personally feel that in three two six months the Chinese will withdraw, because given the military and economic advantage they already have this additional real estate will not be worth the adverse impact it will have in due course across the western world, provided we stand our ground across their agression and over the next five years really reduce our trade and deficit (50billion dollars).But as an defence analyst tell us our military's strength in the Himalayas, whether we will be able to prevent a Sino-Pak physical link up,what is our staying power and what will it take militarily to force the Chinese to go back to April position

  7. My dog sleeps when I scream China but barks when I name Pakistan. Why?

  8. The PLA is engaging in talks to buy time whilst fortifying areas they have occupied. The encroachments and fortifications violate the agreements to maintain peace and to refrain from building permanent presence in the disputed sections pending a resolution of the border dispute. This violation is a huge deal - a first in decades. It signals that the PLA is not going to withdraw, because they now have strategic advantage over the DSDBO Road, or wish to show us our place. It looks like we did not see this coming, that our response is weak and that the government is playing this down in the hope that the PLA will withdraw. The Chinese understand only the language of strength ... they must be left in no doubt that India will use force to evict them, is capable at least of giving them a bloody nose and causing them loss of face. Whilst employing prudence and cool nerves, we must have the determination to fight. Afterwards, it will be time to evaluate what led to this. The present government has been denouncing Nehru but has learnt little from his mistakes; once again we have been caught napping, once again our military preparedness is lacking (especially in the air, where the IAF is down to half its proper strength), and loud mouth ministers - in a bid to score cheap points over juvenile opponents like Rahul Gandhi - have bragged about taking back Aksai Chin, whilst having neither ability nor guts to do so.

  9. Being Practical.
    Assuming Chinese have occupied Indian Territory.
    Is it necessary to retaliate immediately ?
    It may not be easy to keep occupied difficult terrain & there is a cost factor that China may not be ready to pay.
    Why not to let them keep the area during raining & winter ?
    We can accumulate more ammunition like Rafael Aircraft, Good Radar, ensure that all fighter aircraft are 100 % available (normally it is less than 60 %) and than attack at full capacity takeover only Indian Claimed area & declare ceasefire.
    I don't think China will go a full fledged war with India.

  10. Whatever they occupied is gone for good. Lets hope they stay there and not move in further giving India more time to grow a pair.

  11. Today only Indian Chief of Army staff has commented, situation on Indo Chinese border is normal. So what is correct?

  12. You and Mr Sushant Singh of Indian Express are doing great service to the nation. Salute

  13. Hi Ajay sir, I have a queation. Sir I think the recent Chinese activities on LAC is a complete failure of Modi govt..Sources say that due to covid virus India became defensive on LAC (though against Pakistan we are aggressive as usual), which Chinese took advantage. Further due to economic slowdown, it seems govt gave less priority to defence preparedness, which was again exploited by Chinese. So sir don't you think that it's a very myopic vision of Modi govt and extreme obsession against Pakistan as usual? I agree that there's effect of virus and economic slowdown is there, but at no cost defence can be neglected even a bit, given national security is most important.

    Would like to know your views sir.
    Thanks and best wishes

    From the outset the building of infrastructure by India in Ladakh was never strategically thought through.
    DBO, Demchok, Chusul and Leh should have been left to a token Army holding force and the LAC guarded only by the ITBP.
    India will not be able to defend Ladakh, against technologically superior Chinese forces, Ladakh is on the edge of the Tibetan plateau with its network of Chinese roads and future railway in front. Behind are many miles of mountain wall and crossings to the Indian plains.
    India will not be able to maintain the very long supply lines to Ladakh because, in case of war, mountain roads will be destroyed in several places by Chinese cruise missiles. It will be not be possible to hold Ladakh for much more than two weeks.
    At river valleys and mountain passes much further back, on routes entering from India, should the main Indian defence line be established.
    This is where VIV Corps should be. Commanding mountain heights and in deep reinforced tunnels. Our artillery guns protected by rock and concrete should be mounted deep in high inaccessible cliffs or high plateaus with an advantage of enfilade over attacking Chinese infantry.
    Instead of building roads to nowhere, we should build an infrastructure of A network deep bunker fortresses in the mountains. enable our forces to withstand nuclear blasts with accommodation for hundreds of soldiers and even helicopter aviation.
    This strategy will exact a high price from a attacking PLA who have superior technology and air supremacy.
    Control of the Himalayan crossings and a infrastructure of a dense network of passive and active barriers and large and small fortifications, will prolong the PLA advance through the mountain wall for months.
    India has not planned or build this kind of infrastructure to control the mountain crossings, our present defences and expertise in planning future defences against war with China are inadequate,
    Remember even after a nuclear exchange the war might go on and India needs to be defended. The army must not count on a nuclear exchange suddenly halting a war.

  15. Scylla & Charybdis13 June 2020 at 18:09

    Is the FAKIR of India merely waiting and watching ?

    Sheer FAKIRI.

  16. Yet the BJP Government continues to claim all is well. The Army Chief speaks of a dialogue and peaceful resolution through "talks" meaning suitably groveling and cowering before China, I presume. This pathetic display of pusillanimity completely exposes the ineptness and ignorance of the political and the military leadership.

    Why the development at the border should have taken our Government by surprise is a mystery. The Chinese had made their objections to the changes on August 5, 2019 quite clear. The Government and the Army had more than 6 months to prepare for an adverse reaction by securing our forward areas. What was done then? What should one make of such callousness? Is it just a lack of will, by both the political leadership and the Army? The state of India's military preparedness seems worryingly lackadaisical.

    Finally, what are we to make of BJP's nationalism? Is it confined to thrashing, terrorising and humiliating members of the minority community within the country and not taking on an armed adversary squatting on our soil? Who is the anti national now? I suppose the PM's silence says it all.

  17. It's an international border. Give the chinks a deadline. If they don't retreat, throw them the hell out.

  18. The situation is disheartening. It must be disheartening and embarrassing for you personally sir to see the army which you took pride in, is left in such shambolic state by the government

  19. A good summary of the ground reality at Sino-China LAC.
    India needs to change its foreign policy, related to the domestic policies, from event management to a consistent foreign policy, especially towards the neighboring countries.

  20. We operate within the constrains of a limited budget and lack of a long term strategy, the country is embroiled in cutting the ballooning pension liability of the Army.
    “ At river valleys and mountain passes much further back, on routes entering from India, should the main Indian defence line be established.
    This is where VIV Corps should be. Commanding mountain heights and in deep reinforced tunnels. Our artillery guns protected by rock and concrete should be mounted deep in high inaccessible cliffs or high plateaus with an advantage of enfilade over attacking Chinese infantry. ”
    Would our choices have been to continue with the restructuring of the Army or the above, however I agree there is no way we will be able to defend Northern Ladakh.

  21. Incursions and occupation by Chinese of our territory is not shaking conscience of our present ruling political dispensation. Pt.Nehru fought the Chinese in 1962 with unprepared army. It's 2020, Indian Army has evolved considerably in terms of arms, men and training. Go ahead and evict Chinese

  22. Chinese military has cross the border, and is holding Indian territory. This is an act of war. Throw them the hell out.

    1. how? They are beating the hell out of Indian army.

  23. dalals like you interfered with Indian defence procurement , delayed. Classic case was Rafale.
    How much are you paid by Chinese now ?

  24. Unknown writes:

    "Any sentences that begins with it's better to die does not end well for anyone."

    Unknown - you're a pussy.

  25. Time has proven that Col Ajay Shukla is not only right but way ahead of Indian Politico military leadership..if Indian military listens to Ajay Shukla,Peavin Swahnei and Lt Gen HS Panag,it can still recover from the shock of Ladakh.But Godi media is declaring these real Patriots as Traitors.Ironic


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