China deploys troops, tanks, and artillery near the Indian border

An Indian army convoy moves on the Srinagar- Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, north-east of Srinagar, India

China has added more firepower to the border with India in 2022, marking a continued phase of military tensions, according to a new report.

China and India are said to have deployed 100,000 soldiers each close to Eastern Ladakh since the beginning of the border stand-off in 2020.

Now, the annual China Military Report by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has revealed that China deployed additional troops to the Eastern Ladakh region in 2022. Based on the latest assessment, the size of the two militaries deployed in Eastern Ladakh may have increased in 2022.

China and India share over 2,000 miles of land border, parts of which aren’t officially demarcated and remain disputed between the two sides. The border region is divided into the western, central and eastern sectors.

“In 2022, China deployed one border regiment, supported by two divisions of Xinjiang and Tibet Military Districts with four combined arms brigades (CAB) in reserve in the western sector of the LAC,” said the China Military Power report for 2023.

The report suggests the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) deployed one additional border regiment to the western sector in 2022. The new deployment comes when both sides have repeatedly called for disengagement and, eventually, de-escalation of troops.

The two militaries clashed in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 (western sector) leading to soldiers dying on both sides. Despite 20 rounds of talks between the senior military leadership and diplomatic leadership from the two sides, the border dispute remains unresolved as both sides continue to add soldiers and infrastructure to the region.

Recent reports by Indian media revealed that the Indian Army had over 68,000 additional troops, nearly 90 tanks, and over 300 infantry combat vehicles following the Galwan Valley clash. The Indian Army continues to maintain a significant presence of troops to mirror the deployment by the PLA.

“Negotiations between India and the PRC made minimal progress as both sides resisted losing perceived advantages on the border,” the DOD report said.

Unlike previous editions of the military-to-military talks, the two sides failed to produce a joint statement after the 20th round of talks, highlighting existing tensions over the disputed border.

“The two sides had ‘positive, in-depth and constructive communication’ about resolving the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control separating Chinese and Indian territories in a mutually acceptable manner as soon as possible,” China said in a statement after the 20th round of military talks.

Chinese experts hinted that Beijing was unlikely to settle the ongoing dispute by withdrawing troops soon.

“China will not make major concessions to India on border disputes, particularly on territorial issues, due to concerns over India’s strategic drift toward the US,” Long Xingchun, a professor at the School of International Relations at Sichuan International Studies University, told Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper.

China continued to enhance the border infrastructure with new roads and bridges across the Eastern and Western sectors of the border, according to the DOD report. In the Doklam region, it improved unground facilities while enhancing road infrastructure in the strategically important areas along the border.

India is carrying out its infrastructure enhancement with projects such as the Nyoma advanced landing runway extending over 2.7 kilometers at an altitude of 13,700 feet. The Indian government wants to build a concrete runway in less than 20 months to facilitate fighter aircraft landing in the high-altitude region to counter China’s military build-up.

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