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China Has Redeployed Its 5th-Generation J-20 Stealth Jets Near Ladakh?

After the renewed tensions between Chinese and Indian soldiers in Eastern Ladakh, new reports indicate that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force has redeployed its 5th-generation J-20 stealth jets in the region, days before the recent brawl.

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The J-20 fighter jets have been operating close to the Indian territory in the last few days and the move was taken by the Chinese Air Force just a few days before their Army attempted to do incursions into newer areas in Ladakh,” top government sources told India Today, an Indian news agency on Monday.

The report comes just after India released a statement informing about a recent scuffle near Pangong Tso in Ladakh, which happened on the night of 29-30 August- calling them “provocative actions” to unilaterally change the status quo on the southern bank of the lake.

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Reports of the deployment of J-20 fighter jets also surfaced two weeks ago, when the media reported its presence at the Hotan Airbase in Xinjiang.

The government sources also added that the deployment of J-20 has also been complemented with the deployment of strategic bombers and other fighter aircraft, such as the H-6  and J-11.

The OSINT (Open-source intelligence) also reported the deployment of two J-20 fighter jets at Hotan on August 25, through satellite images provided by Planet Labs. According to the reports, the J-20 deployed at Hotan had (probably) come from the Dingxin airbase, which houses approximately eight J-20 aircraft.

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The report also mentioned that Indian agencies have been keeping a close eye and monitoring activities of vital PLAAF bases near to the Indian borders. “Satellites and other forms of surveillance are being used to keep an eye on the seven Chinese military bases which are situated in Xinjiang and Tibet Autonomous Military Region,” India Today quoted government sources.

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Chinese Global Times had earlier clarified that the PLA has not announced any J-20 deployment at Hotan Airbase.  “But foreign media should not over-interpret its possible presence in a flashpoint region, as it is likely part of normal training on a long-distance flight and environment adaptation.” “China is a large country with many airfields in various terrains and under different climate conditions, and the J-20 needs to fly in more regions to adapt.” 

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