China Deploys 50,000 Troops In Aksai-Chin; India Moves-In T-90 Tanks, M-777 Howitzers

India has deployed T-90 tanks, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and a full troop brigade (4,000 men) at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO). The latest deployment comes in to prevent any Chinese aggression from the Shaksgam-Karakoram pass axis according to reports in Hindustan Times. 

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According to sources, the Indian Army for the first time has deployed a squadron (12) T-90 missile-firing tanks, APCs and a full troop brigade (4,000 men) at Daulat Beg Oldi. With Beijing deploying close to 50,000 troops in Aksai China, New Delhi is taking no chances.

India’s last outpost at Daulet Beg Oldi DBO lies at a height of 16,000 feet just south of Karakoram pass and on banks of Chip-Chap river, north of the Galwan-Shyok confluence.

Indian Army commanders sent the T-90 tanks after the June 15 Galwan flare-up by fording the rivers and rivulets using specialized equipment as some bridges could on the Darbuka-Shyok-DBO road cannot handle the weight of a 46-ton T-90 tank.

The armoured personnel carriers (APCs) or infantry combat vehicles, M-777 155mm howitzers, and 130 mm guns had already been sent to DBO after Chinese aggression at patrolling points 14,15,16,17 and the Pangong Tso finger features.

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The main reason for deploying tanks in the area is to prevent any sudden Chinese move from the north. Although India and China are engaged in de-escalation talks, the army remains on high alert.

Already China has built some 36 kilometres of road in the Shaksgam Valley (5163 square kilometres were illegally ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963), and Indian military planners fear that PLA will link the G-219 (Lhasa-Kashgar) highway to Karakoram pass through the Shaksgam pass.

The fear is that once the link is completed, the PLA will put pressure on DBO from the north as it needs a buffer to prevent the Indian Army from targeting the road. Chinese action in Ladakh was to clear all the friction points with the Indian Army along the 1147 km long line of actual control (LAC) impose the 1960 map claim.

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However, this attempt was forcefully repelled by the men of 16 Bihar Regiment who took on the 3 Mechanized Infantry of Xinjiang Military district on June 15 at Galwan.

This plan dovetailed into a larger plan of linking the G219 highway to G314 (Kashgar-Islamabad Karakoram highway) via Karakoram-Shaksgam pass axis to save not only time but distance.

The fruition of this plan would have made Indian army positions untenable not only at DBO but also at Siachen as the outpost is linked to Sansoma (crucial base on Nubra river before Siachen) via Saser la-Murgo axis.

The Sino-India clash has been ongoing since the first week of June. Troops of India and China have completed disengagement at Galwan Valley, Patrolling Point 15, and Hot Springs/Gogra area in Eastern Ladakh.

However, talks have stalled since Beijing has refused to move back its troops to their original location. New Delhi insists that the Chinese troops must return to complete the disengagement process.  A meeting between senior military commanders is expected this week.