China has significantly upgraded firepower and infrastructure on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India even as the stand-off in eastern Ladakh continues at some friction points, intelligence inputs have revealed, a report in The Hindu says.
"In the western sector across the LAC, the accommodation capacity was for 20,000 troops in 2020 before the stand-off began. That has now been expanded to 1.2 lakh billets — infrastructure and accommodation-wise," the report quotes an official source as saying.
"They have also set up captive solar energy and small hydel power projects all along the LAC. This enhances their winter sustenance capability manifold," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added.
China has been rotating four People's Liberation Army (PLA) divisions under the Xinjiang military district for deployment along the LAC. While the 4th and 6th divisions were deployed in 2020, the 8th and 11th were sent to the front in 2021. Currently, troops from the 4th and 6th divisions are deployed along the LAC.
According to the sources quoted in the report, these divisions of the PLA are being upgraded to Combined Arms Brigade.
Some of these units have also received a firepower upgrade. The 4th Division has received ZTQ 15 (Type 15) light tanks to replace the older ZTZ-88 tanks. The 6th Division continues to operate its Type 96 A tanks.
The PLA has also replaced towed howitzers with truck-mounted howitzers with a range of 50 km for better mobility in rugged terrain. It has also deployed PHL-3 Multi-Rocket Launch Systems (MRLS) with a range of over 100 km along the LAC. In the eastern sector opposite Arunachal, China has deployed artillery guns within a 50 km range from the LAC.
It has also replaced older air defence systems with newer and more capable HQ-17 and HQ-9 surface-to-air missile systems.
China has also upgraded its air bases on the Tibetan Plateau. It has increased the length of the runways and built hardened shelters for its fighters.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.