HomeRegional GeopoliticsChina Responds to India Tensions With New Military Drills Near Border

China Responds to India Tensions With New Military Drills Near Border

Source : Newsweek

China's People's Liberation Army Exercise
A screenshot of a mobilization training by Xinjiang Military Region from a video published by state-owned China Central Television on X-like platform Weibo on March 13, 2024. China carried out a live-fire exercise at the… MoreWEIBO/CHINA CENTRAL TELEVISION

China has carried out a live-fire test at the contested border with India in a show of force as tensions between the two Asian giants fester.

“The female missile platoon fired live ammunition at a new subsonic target aircraft for the first time on the Karakoram Plateau at an altitude of 4,300 meters. The female soldiers found an ‘enemy aircraft’ due east and launched the missile after a countdown. The missile took off and accurately hit the target,” state broadcaster China Central Television said on X-like Chinese platform Weibo on Monday.

The live fire exercise by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) showcased an advanced surface-to-air missile system. Video footage of the test was viewed over 514,000 times on Weibo.

The live-fire exercise by the People’s Liberation Army took place in a strategic Karkorum plateau across from Eastern Ladakh, where China and India have been locked in a military stand-off since 2020.

Newsweek contacted India’s Ministry of External Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi for comment.

Since June 2020, China and India have been in a tense military stand-off with thousands of military personnel deployed along the Line of Actual Control, the de facto boundary that divides the two Asian superpowers.

India now considers Beijing as one of its primary strategic adversaries. On Monday, New Delhi tested the Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV) to deter China’s nuclear posturing.

As reported by Indian current affairs magazine India Today, the Indian Army has moved an additional three divisions of troops alongside the existing three divisions already deployed at the border, all of which now face China.

China's People's Liberation Army Exercise
A screenshot of a mobilization training by Xinjiang Military Region from a video published by state-owned China Central Television on X-like platform Weibo on March 13, 2024. China carried out a live-fire exercise at the… MoreWEIBO/CHINA CENTRAL TELEVISION

Even though at least 50,000 soldiers on the Chinese and Indian sides are immediately facing each other in the Eastern Ladakh region, there is known to be a far bigger deployment of troops in the rare areas of the tense border.

The Indian Army now has between 150,000 and 200,000 soldiers facing China. The PLA is said to have an equally large deployment of soldiers, up to 200,000 troops from the Xinjiang and Tibet Military Regions. Newsweek couldn’t verify the exact number of PLA soldiers deployed on the border with India.

The two countries have had 21 rounds of talks to resolve the military stand-off, with the most recent discussions held on February 19 at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point in Eastern Ladakh.

India is said to have deployed an additional 10,000 soldiers along the frontier with China.

“A 10,000-strong unit of soldiers previously assigned to the country’s western border has now been set aside to guard a stretch of its frontier with China,” Bloomberg reported on March 7, citing senior Indian officials.

“We hope that India will work in the same direction with China and approach the bilateral relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective. We should enhance mutual trust and avoid misunderstanding and misjudgment,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.

The Chinese foreign ministry responded to a recent comment by India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

“I think it’s in our common interest that we should not have that many forces [there], it’s in our common interest that we should observe agreements that we have. And today, it’s not just in common interest, I believe it’s in China’s interest as well,” Jaishankar said on Monday during an event in New Delhi.

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