On May 13, Chinese media reported that Beijing has elevated the rank and status of the Tibet Military Command and brought it directly under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
It is believed that the decision was taken to increase China’s defence preparedness along the Indian border.
An Indian soldier (L) and his Chinese counterpart at the 15 000-feet (4545-metre) Nathu La Pass. claudearpi“>GG2
But analysts pointed that the elevation means that the Tibet Military Command will now be able to adopt a more aggressive approach and will be able to better participate in future combat missions – all of them against India.
If that was not worrying enough, the Pentagon has now stated that China has increased the number of troops along its 3488 km long border with India stretching from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.
“We have noticed an increase in capability and force posture by the Chinese military in areas close to the border with India,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for East Asia Abraham M. Denmark told reporters during a news conference in Washington. The conference was held after the Pentagon presented its annual 2016 report to the US Congress on ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China’.
The Pentagon also says that China has increased its military presence in Pakistan confirming reports that the PLA troops were spotted just across India-Pakistan LoC.
The red arrows indicate Chinese PLA incursions along the LAC with India. IDSA
Boosting troop strength along India’s border is not the only thing; China has increased military footprint in other countries too, including a military support facility in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
The massive troop build-up is aimed at securing China’s trade interests in the world, as can be seen from the overarching Gwadar port in Pakistan in the light of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Pentagon believes that China will establish a naval hub in Pakistan due to their “longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests” (read India).
The Pentagon underlined the simmering tensions between India and China over the border disputes such as Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh.
“Tensions remain along disputed portions of the Sino- Indian border, where both sides patrol with armed forces,” the report reads.
The Pentagon also said that Pakistan remains China’s primary customer for conventional weapons.
Everything from LY-80 surface-to-air missile systems to anti-ship cruise missiles are sold to Pakistan besides the joint production of JF-17s fighter aircraft. But the Pentagon believes that India’s nuclear weapons modernization is one of the key reasons why China is pushing its military strength to higher levels.