China is flexing its military muscles in the Tibet Autonomous Region near the Line of Actual Control. It increased its air defence capability along the LAC in February. Defence expert PK Sehgal sees the Chinese action as a massive psychological warfare on India
China increased its air defence capability along the LAC in February and is maintaining a high level of alertness along the LAC. According to a recent intel report seen by India Today, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed 13 more Mi-17 helicopters, which has both transport and gunship versions, and 10 fighter jets in Hoping, 22 copters and 11 fighter aircraft in Gangga. The Lhasa Gonggar Airport is the largest airport in Tibet supporting the capital city of Lhasa. The recent Chinese action clearly show that China is enhancing the fighting capability of its air force in Tibet.
The PLA has deployed eight Shenyang J-11 and nine Chengdu J-7 fighter jets at Kashi airfield, 39 fighter jets in Hatan, eight copters at Sule helibase in Tibet and nine Xian JH-7 fighter aircraft, three J-11s, four J-7s and two Shenyang J-8s combat planes and five Shaanxi Y-8 transport planes at Dingxin airfield. Besides, Beijing has constructed seven hangars at Pangta airfield. Besides the six fully operational dual-use airbases facing India at Lhasa Gonggar, Nyingchi, Qamdo, Hoping, Ngari Gunsa and Shigatse, the PLA has built another nine in TAR.
China Keeps An Eye On Indian Security Forces
China is also using its BeiDou Navigation Satellite System near Brutse, in Aksai Chin, 10 km from LAC to watch Indian security forces. China plans to increase the number of satellites under the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System from 30 to 35 by the end of 2020, sources said.
Defence expert Lieutenant General (retired) Raj Kadyan told India Today that India needs to be on guard. "Following the face-off at Doklam, China is trying to create tension by deploying fighter planes. India should be prepared to counter any possible Chinese threat in Doklam and the LAC. China will never forget the Doklam humiliation. It will attempt a similar mischief."
Kadyan added that China considers India its adversary in the region. "Talks of India joining the US, Australia and Japan to counter the Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific didn't go down well with Beijing."
Psychological Warfare on India
Another defence expert and Major General (retired) PK Sehgal sees the Chinese action as a massive psychological warfare on India. "China can take military action as well. We can't ignore this threat; we should be militarily prepared. China is an expansionist power," he said.
Sehgal also pointed to the numerical strength of the Chinese Air Force and how India faces a bigger threat, in case, of a war with both China and Pakistan. "China has 60 squadrons and Pakistan 25-it means a combined threat of 85 squadrons. India has only 32 squadrons as against the minimum requirement of 42. Eleven of our squadrons have old MiG-21s and MiG-27. Therefore, our effective strength is reduced to half."
China is also much ahead of India in terms of missile quantity and quality. "The only danger to China is from India's BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which has a range of 290 km. Only the Russian S-400 missile can counter the BrahMos, but China lacks it. But India doesn't have enough BrahMos to deploy both in central and eastern sectors in case of a conflict."