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Aero India 2023

China deploys new CSS-5 missiles on borders with India: Pentagon

Dongfeng ballistic missile. A file photo.

WASHINGTON (PTI): China has moved new advanced longer range CSS-5 missiles close to the borders with India and developed contingency plans to shift airborne forces at short notice to the region, according to Pentagon.

Despite increased political and economic relationship between India and China, the Pentagon in a report to the US Congress said, tensions remain along the Sino-India borders with rising instances of border violation and aggressive border patrolling by Chinese soldiers.

However, a senior Defense Department official told reporters that the US has not observed any anomalous increase in military capabilities along the Sino-India border.

Noting that China continues to maintain its position on what its territorial claim is, the official said, the two capitals, Beijing and New Delhi - have been able to manage this dispute, in a way, using confidence-building measures and diplomatic mechanisms to be able to maintain relative stability in that border area.

"But it's something that China continues to watch; but I wouldn't say that there's anything in this report that demonstrates a spike or an anomalous increase in military capabilities along the border.

"It's something that China's paying very careful attention to. It's obviously something that India is paying careful attention to as well," the Senior Defense Department official said.

In its annual report, the US Department of Defense said, to improve regional deterrence, the PLA has replaced older liquid-fuelled, nuclear capable CCS-3 intermediate range missiles with more advanced and survivable fuelled CSS-5 MRBMs.

"China is currently engaged in massive road and rail infrastructure development along the Sino-India border primarily to facilitate economic development in western China: improved roads also support PLA operations," the Pentagon said.

The report presented to the Congress said despite increased political and economic relations over the years between China and India, tensions remain along their shared 4,057 km border, most notably over Arunachal Pradesh, which China asserts as part of Tibet and therefore of China, and over the Aksai Chin region at the western end of the Tibetan Plateau.

"Both countries, in 2009, stepped up efforts to assert their claims. China tried to block a USD 2.9 billion loan to India from the Asian Development Bank, claiming part of the loan would have been used for water projects in Arunachal Pradesh. This represented the first time China sought to influence this dispute through a multilateral institution," the Pentagon said.

The report said: "The then governor of Arunachal Pradesh announced that India would deploy more troops and fighter aircraft to the area. An Indian academic also noted that, in 2008, the Indian Army had recorded 270 border violations and nearly 2300 cases of 'aggressive border patrolling' by Chinese soldiers".

China refers to its intervention in the Korean War (1950-1953) as the "War to Resist the United States and Aid Korea." Similarly, authoritative texts refer to border conflicts against India (1962), the Soviet Union (1969), and Vietnam (1979) as "Self-Defense Counter Attacks," the Pentagon report said.

The Pentagon said Beijing remains concerned with persistent disputes along China's shared border with India and the strategic ramifications of India's rising economic, political, and military power.


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