China’s troop build-up, LAC infra work still on: Pentagon report

NEW DELHI: China has not reduced its massive additional military deployments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, and continues to develop border infrastructure like underground storage facilities, roads, dual-use villages, airfields and helipads, as per the Pentagon.
In its latest annual report on China’s military power, the US department of defence said Beijing now has more than 500 operational nuclear warheads, surpassing previous projections, and is fully on course to reach over 1,000 warheads by 2030, while it also builds a formidable arsenal of long-range ballistic missiles.
US has 3,750 active nuclear warheads, with the total number being 5,244 as compared to 5,889 of Russia. India, in turn, has 164 and Pakistan 170 warheads, as per other assessments reported by TOI earlier.
Pentagon said China continues to modernise its military by enhancing capabilities across all domains of warfare, including traditional land, air and sea as well as nuclear, space, counter-space, e-warfare and cyberspace.
China is strengthening its ability to “fight and win wars”, counter interventions by third parties in conflicts along its periphery and project power globally, in tune with President Xi Jinping‘s goal of having a “world class” military by 2049, it added.
In the section on the India-China border, Pentagon said that Chinese Western Theatre Command’s deployments along the 3,488-km long LAC “will continue through 2023”.
This tallies with the assessment in India. As reported by TOI, the military confrontation in eastern Ladakh is set to enter the fourth consecutive winter after the 20th round of corps commander-level talks on October 9-10 did not lead to any breakthrough in defusing the two major face-offs at Depsang Plains and the Charding Ninglung Nallah track junction at Demchok.
Pentagon said China had last year deployed a border regiment supported by two divisions of Xinjiang and Tibet Military Districts with four combined-arms brigades in reserve in the western sector (Ladakh) of LAC. Each CAB normally has 4,500 soldiers with tanks, artillery, air defence missiles and other weapon systems.
On China’s border infrastructure development, Pentagon said, “The improvements include underground storage facilities near Doklam, new roads in all three sectors of the LAC, a second bridge over Pangong Lake, a dual-purpose airport and helipads.”

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