As the Indian and Chinese military commanders are indulging in talks to end the border standoff in eastern Ladakh, a Global Times report reads that the 75th group Army of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has received a batch of new weapons.
China’s most advanced vehicle-mounted howitzer, the PCL181, identified by Chinese Military enthusiasts, is one of the new weapons. The official WeChat account of the 75th Group Army cited the pictures depicting the commissioning ceremony when Chinese troops were exercising as per a report by The Global Times.
The brigade held a commissioning ceremony of new weapons during field exercising in Northwestern China’s desert areas, Nanjiang Haojiao, or the Horn of the Southern border, the official statement had released some attached pictures of several PCL-181 vehicle-mounted howitzers.
On October 1, 2019, the public debut of this 155-milimeter caliber wheeled howitzer was done during the National Day military parade in Beijing. According to a report by China Central Television (CCTV), the new weapon weighs only 25 tons and therefore, is much lighter and faster and has a long endurance as compared to the previous self-propelled howitzer, which uses crawler tracks and weighs more than 40 tons.
As per Shanghai-based news website, eastday.com, the PCL-181s were dispatched to PLA Western Theater Command during the Doklam standoff with India in 2017 and helped in safeguarding the peace at that border.
However, coverage in the Indian side is diametrically opposite.
According to Indian media reports, China and India are handling the dialogue between the two ‘positively’. Both are taking actions based on a mutual consensus build via their diplomatic and military talks, read a PTI report quoting a senior Chinese official.
Earlier, a Chinese government mouthpiece had said Beijing will not give up an inch of territory but wants “good-neighbourly relations” with New Delhi even as it warned India must not be “fooled by Washington”.
The comments were published in an editorial of the Global Times ahead of Saturday’s crucial talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders on the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
These developments come in the backdrop of the continuing standoff between the militaries of India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Indian army troops were flown to eastern Ladakh to strengthen security along the disputed Line of Actual Control, amid reports that Chinese soldiers have transgressed 3-5 km into territory claimed by India near the Pangong Lake, sources in the security establishment told The Telegraph.
“Troops are being flown to eastern Ladakh and deployed at the three standoff locations,” an Intelligence Bureau official was quoted as saying.
As field-level talks to lower tensions along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh remain inconclusive, the Indian Army has increased its presence in Uttarakhand.
Chinese President Xi Jinping directed China’s armed forces to strengthen training of troops and to be ready for war amid coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic’s visible impact on the world’s most populous country’s national security.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi too held a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs with a focus on bolstering India’s military preparedness to deal with external security challenges, government sources said.
Satellite images show massive construction activity at a high altitude Chinese air base, located just 200 kilometres away from the Pangong Lake, the site of the skirmish between forces of India and China on May 5 and May 6.
Earlier, reports said that the Chinese Army in a recent stand-off with the Indian forces in the Pangosg Tso lake area in Eastern Ladakh sector used sticks, clubs with barbed wires and stones to target Indian security forces’ soldiers there.
According to sources, quoted by News Agency ANI, “the behaviour of the Chinese has been like the Pakistan-backed stone-pelters who use stones and sticks to target Indian security forces in the Kashmir valley.”
“The Chinese troops came armed with sticks, clubs with barbed wires and stones in an area near the Pangong Tso lake during a face-off with Indian troops there,” sources told ANI.
There are close to 10,000 soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Indian territory, reports have claimed.
The report said that dialogue is frozen, with the Chinese rebuffing Indian calls for flag meetings to resolve the situation.
Earlier, reports claimed that the Chinese troops have reportedly “come about three kilometres inside Indian territory” South East of the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
China and India have been locked in a standoff with each other in eastern Ladakh, where the deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent fist-fight on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to “disengage” following a meeting at the level of local commanders.
In the midst of the escalating tension, Army Chief General MM Naravane paid a quiet visit to the headquarters of 14 Corps in Leh on May 22 and reviewed with the top commanders the overall security scenario in the region including in the disputed areas along the LAC — the de-facto border between India and China.
China has also decided to evacuate its citizens in India.
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