China More than Doubled Airbases, Air Defences and Heliports at LAC After Doklam Standoff: Report
File photo of an Indian army convoy moving on the Srinagar-Ladakh highway at Gagangeer.
China has more than doubled its airbases, air defence positions and heliports at the LAC after the 2017 standoff with India at Doklam. The Chinese side has started constructing 13 new military positions including three airbases, five permanent air defence positions and four new heliports, a report authored by senior analyst Sim Tack for the geopolitical intelligence platform StratFor said.
Tack used satellite imagery to zoom into the exact scale of the build-up. The construction of three new heliports began in the middle of the current crisis, giving a clear indication of Chinese intent not just in Ladakh but all across the LAC.
Four defence positions within existing airbases and facilities such as additional runways and shelters to help obscure combat aircraft from observation are under construction. The report further states that the Chinese military has also been deploying more air defence systems and fighter aircraft to existing facilities.
“China’s intensified development of military infrastructure on the Indian border suggests a shift in Beijing’s approach to territorial disputes, forcing New Delhi to rethink its national security posture,” the Stratfor report said.
According to the report, China’s new developments across India’s entire border are likely to "drive future expansions of Indian military infrastructure near disputed borders at Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh”.
Warning of potential escalation of conflict, the report said, “By forcing India to respond in kind, China’s aggressive strategy is leading to a greater concentration of military assets in heavily disputed areas along the border that could raise the risk of potential escalations and sustained conflict.”
Meanwhile, talks between the corps commanders of India and China failed to yield a breakthrough. Both sides are adamant on their respective positions and are refusing to budge as the standoff in eastern Ladakh enters its fifth month.
China wants India to step back from the strategic heights in the Chushul subsector. India has made it clear there will be no movement anywhere till the Chinese agree to a time-bound roadmap on complete de-escalation. But both sides have agreed to meet again, possibly as early as next week.