India is to deploy 35,000 troops to the Chinese disputed Himalayan border which has seen some intense fighting over the last month, which saw Chinese death squads kill 20 Indian soldiers.
Chinese and Indian soldiers fought in hand-to-hand combat for eight hours in the Galwan Valley, using spiked clubs, batons wrapped in barbed wire and iron rods, according to the Sun.
An Indian officer told News18, “Even unarmed men who fled into the hillsides were hunted down and killed.
“The dead include men who jumped into the Galwan river in a desperate effort to escape.”
Officials have reported that they were Chinese “death squads” who are highly trained in mixed martial arts and military combat.
The move comes as tensions are rapidly escalating are now on a knife edge, which could see an all-out war, between the two sides, which could also see Pakistan becoming involved against India.
Both China and India have moved heavy artillery guns and tanks and now with an additional 35,000 troops, which a political analyst said neither side will back down unless there is an rapprochement at the highest political level.
This move has changed the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which is 3,488kn long. A senior Indian official, told local media that the Indian military’s budget is already stretched and tight.
B K Sharma, the director of Delhi-based think-tank The United Service Institution of India and retired major general, told the Times of India, “The nature of the Line of control, at least in Ladakh, has changed forever.
“Additional troops rushed by either side will not move back, unless there is a rapprochement at the highest political level.”
China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, “Currently the two sides are actively preparing for the fifth round of commander-level talks to resolve outstanding issues on the ground.
“We hope the Indian side will work towards the same goal with China, implement the two sides’ consensus and jointly uphold peace and tranquillity along the border.”
Around 60% of defence spending pays for the salaries of 1.3m soldiers, which is one of the worlds largest armies.
Anything that is left from the budget pays debt on past purchases, which means the Indian army does not have enough ammunition or other vital equipment needed to fight a war.
Laxman Kumar Behera, a senior research fellow at the Delhi based think-tank Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses said, “The additional commitment in Ladakh would put further pressure on serviceability, research and development and capital expenditure as revenue cost rise.
“It will be painful if the defence budget isn’t increased.”
However, on Wednesday the Indian government received their first five French Rafale fighter jets purchased from France, in a multibillion dollar deal.
In total the Indian government have purchased 36 Rafale fighter jets in a deal thought to be worth around $9.4bn.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the combat jets’ arrival marked “the beginning of a new era in our military history.”
He said, “This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are amongst the best in the world.
“Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country.”
“If it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity,” Singh declared.
Whilst he did not directly say China, observers say his tone was firmly directed at their neighbour.
Rafale fighter jets are capable of carrying out a wide range of short and long-range missions, which will worry Beijing.
The French fighter jets are capable of conducting ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, with high accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence, which cannot be matched by China and Pakistan’s airforce.
Tensions are rising between India, China and Pakistan and the news of the fighter jets which are capable of carrying long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles will cause concern and could escalate tensions further.
Defence sources told Asia’s premiere news agency, ANI, “The first four aircrafts including three twin-seater trainer aircrafts and one single-seater fighter aircraft would start arriving by the end of July at the Ambala airbase.
“The trainers will have the tail numbers of the RB series in honour of the Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria who played a pivotal role in finalising India’s largest-ever defence deal for 36 Rafale combat aircrafts.”
A source said, “From Middle East to India, there would be one mid-air refuelling done by the Indian IL-78 tanker before they land in India.”
Sameer Patil, an international security studies expert at the Gateway House think tank, said the Rafale fighter jets are a “much-needed capacity booster.”
“It will help India to deal with the heightened nature of the Chinese threat, as it becomes clear that the current territorial stand-off in Ladakh will stretch into the winter months,” Patil added.
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