India is one of the rivals of China that arouses the most misgivings in Beijing. India is a nuclear-armed military power. and its population of 1,380 million people allows it to have one of the largest armies on the planet. Their rivalry has a lot to do with the border dispute they have had since 1962when both countries – which share a border of 3,500 kilometers– waged a war on the high peaks of the Himalayas that Beijing won. The tensions between the two powers have been increasing between reciprocal accusations about the accumulation of military troops and the construction of war infrastructure together with the sensitive Current Line of Control (LAC), the vague de facto border between India and China where both countries have transported tens of thousands of troops along with artillery, tanks and fighter planes in a prolonged movement that has made this point one of the hottest in the world.
The latest accusation has come from India, where government sources have revealed that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force has deployed two dozen J-11 and J-20 fighter jets in its hotan airbasein the eastern part of Ladakhnear India. The J-20 is China’s most advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft. and it is one of the stealthiest, so it can evade Indian radar surveillance and missile defense systems. From India, on the other hand, they assure that this fighter has never participated in an open conflict, so its capabilities remain unknown.
The Chinese Air Force has now have 25 frontline fighters at the Hotan air base which include J-11, and J-20 fighters. The Chinese earlier used to maintain detachments of MiG-21 class fighters there but they have now been replaced with more sophisticated aircraft in larger numbers pic.twitter.com/Y3ON8WtvDZ
— Indian Aerospace Defense News (IADN) (@NewsIADN) June 11, 2022
India has also moved its war machine by placing its fighter fleet Sukhoi-30MKI, MiG-29 and Mirage-2000 at border air bases to deal with any possible escalation with the Chinese Air Force. India’s deployment also includes surface-to-air missiles, radars and increased drone monitoring.
Despite the rearmament that the area has undergone in recent years, on paper the two armies are prohibited -based on a 1996 agreement- from firing weapons, using tanks and combat vehicles as well as howitzers, in addition to flying military planes within the ten kilometers from the LAC. however, the construction of military infrastructure by China near the border is of concern in New Delhi, which has announced in recent hours that his Army will carry out exercises this year with the United States Army at 9,000 10,000 feet altitude to increase the operability of its forces in high-altitude areas.
The Indian media has reported that Beijing is building new airports and bases near its territory, allowing it to fly at lower altitudes. A US general has recently described “frightening” the capabilities that Beijing is deploying in the area. In recent years, the Chinese Air Force has been upgrading these military bases with new bunkers and longer runways.. “In the past the Chinese used to keep MiG-21 class fighters there, but now they have been replaced by more capable and sophisticated aircraft and more numerous.”said the same sources quoted by the Eurasian Times.
India’s defeat in the 1962 war left scars that are still open in India. That war meant for India the loss from the Aksai Chin region, in the delicate region of Kashmir, a key area for the Chinese authorities since it connects the province of Xinjiang with the western area of Tibet. in 1993 both countries accepted the creation of the Current Line of Control (LAC).
The point of greatest border tension between the two countries occurred in 2020, when China first sent fifth-generation J-20 aircraft near the territory to the hotan airbase in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. New Delhi fears that Beijing will continue to prepare for a high-altitude war and shorten troop supply lines on the country’s disputed border with India. It is not just about amassing aircraft near the border but about developing more advanced military technology, including infantry rocket launchers with enhanced anti-tank and anti-bunker capabilities.