India Shifts 50,000 Troops to China Border in Historic Move
Over the past few months, India has moved troops and fighter jet squadrons to three distinct areas along its border with China, according to four people familiar with the matter. All in all, India now has roughly 200,000 troops focused on the border, two of them said, which is an increase of more than 40% from last year.
Both the Indian Army and a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Whereas previously India’s military presence was aimed at blocking Chinese moves, the redeployment will allow Indian commanders more options to attack and seize territory in China if necessary in a strategy known as “offensive defense,” one of the people said. That includes a lighter footprint involving more helicopters to airlift soldiers from valley to valley along with artillery pieces like the M777 howitzer built by BAE Systems Inc.
While it’s unclear how many troops China has on the border, India detected that the People’s Liberation Army recently moved additional forces from Tibet to the Xinjiang Military Command, which is responsible for patrolling disputed areas along the Himalayas. China is adding fresh runway buildings, bomb-proof bunkers to house fighter jets and new airfields along the disputed border in Tibet, two of the people said. Beijing also adding long-range artillery, tanks, rocket regiments and twin-engine fighters in the last few months, they said.