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India carries out long-range missile test for deterrence against China

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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India Thursday carried out a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile test with the aim of strengthening its deterrence against rival China.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the missile was fired from Abdul Kalam Island in eastern Odisha state.

"The missile will add great value to the defense and strengthen national security to a greater extent," Joshi tweeted, citing its range of 5,400 kilometers (3,300 miles) or more.

Indian media reports that its range covers almost the entire China mainland.

Fresh tensions arose between India and China following clashes between their army soldiers Dec. 9 along their disputed border in Arunachal Pradesh state.

India's Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said no Indian soldiers were seriously hurt and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon afterward. A statement from the Indian army Monday said troops on both sides suffered minor injuries.

For decades, India and China have fiercely contested the Line of Actual Control, a loose demarcation that separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India's eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a war over the border in 1962.

Mapping Chinese air infrastructure along India-China border

Meanwhile, India Today reported Thursday that one of the most significant developments over the last few years has been the visible build-up and upgradations of Chinese airports and heliports in Tibet and Xinjiang. The upgradation of the existing airbases and the construction of new ones show great prospects in enhancing China's military capabilities. Considering the rugged terrain of the region, it has the potential to offer an additional advantage to China in launching airborne surveillance in offensive and counter-offensive operations in the event of a conflict.

At a time when tensions on the border between India-China are heightened, India Today attempts to map undergoing advancements of air assets near Tibet and Xinjiang based on satellite imagery analysis and other open-source material. Over the past decade, there has been a continued building of air links near disputed areas with India, such as a second runway at Hotan Airport and a new heliport at Rutog near the Western Sector of the Sino-Indian Border.

According to a report by the American think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, China Power Project data, around 9 new airbases have been built in Tibet, and 6 in Xinjiang, while at least 15 have been upgraded in the Xinjiang region. Three of them are being constructed since 2019 in Xinjiang. These heliports, operated by PLA (People's Liberation Army) Aviation units, are dotted throughout Tibet, stretching from Rutog County in the west to Nyingchi City in the east.

The LAC is roughly divided into three sections. The eastern stretch of the border runs along an area roughly the size of Austria that is claimed by China as part of southern Tibet but administered by India as the state of Arunachal Pradesh."

Recently in an interview, former Army Chief General Naravane highlighted the concerns about the illicit use of 'salami slicing' tactic by China. He said that the Chinese military is trying to alter the status quo along the LAC in "small incremental steps", but all attempts have been thwarted by a "more assertive response from the Indian Army."

China controls 1,000 sq. km of area in Ladakh

It may be recalled that The Hindu reported in August 2020, that about 1,000 square kilometres of area in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is now under Chinese control

Quoting intelligence sources, the paper revealed that in Depsang Plains, from patrolling point 10-13, the scale of Chinese control of India's perception of the LAC stood at about 900 sq.km.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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