Amid India-China border tension, Pakistan setting up missile sites with help of PLA in PoK, say sources


Amid the ongoing border tension between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Pakistan is setting up the surface to air missile sites with the help of China in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), according to sources on Tuesday. 

India and China are locked in a five-month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh. Both sides have held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the row, but there have been achieved no breakthrough to end the standoff.

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The construction work for the installation of the surface to surface missile defence system is being carried out by the Chinese Army, People Liberation Army (PLA) and Pakistan Army troops in PoK.

Approximately, 120 Pakistani Army personnel and 25-40 civilians are working on the construction site. The control room for the system will reportedly be located at the headquarter of PoK Bdel Bagh. Ten PLA troops including three officers will be present at the control room. Similar construction has also been reported at Chinar Village and Chakothi village in Hattian Bala district of PoK.

Earlier on Monday, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said that the Indian Air Force is very “well-positioned” to deal with any threat and very strong deployments have been made in all relevant areas considering the security scenario.

ANI quoted him as saying, “It depends on how the talks progress. The talks towards disengagement, followed by de-escalation, are on. We hope that the talks will progress along the lines that are expected: IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria, when asked ‘how do you see the next 3 months play out in eastern Ladakh?’

IAF chief further said, “current progress is slow, what we see is an increase in an effort to dig-in for winter, in terms of forces on the ground, in terms of deployment of air assets in airfields close by. Defence forces see the ground reality after that. Our further action will depend on ground realities.”

“China will use Skardu (airfield in Gilgit-Baltistan) is an open-ended question. But if China needs to take Pakistan’s help to confront us, I have nothing to say. If Skardu gets used by China then it is a collusive threat and we will deal with it accordingly,” IAF Chief added.

Addressing a press conference ahead of Air Force Day on October 8, the IAF chief said Chinese airpower can’t get the better of India’s capabilities but at the same time added that there is no question of underestimating the adversary, adding that the IAF is prepared to deal with a two-front war along the northern and western borders if such a scenario arises.

When asked about the situation in eastern Ladakh and a possible threat from China in the region, Bhadauria said, “Be rest assured that we have deployed strongly to deal with any contingency,” adding “We have made deployment in all relevant areas; Ladakh is a small part.” 

The Air Chief Marshal said the IAF is “very well-positioned” to deal with any action along the northern border, adding that induction of Rafale jets has given us an operational edge.

India has deployed thousands of troops and heavy weaponry in the high-altitude region to deal with any eventualities. The IAF has also deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, and Mirage 2000 aircraft in the key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control.

The newly inducted fleet of five Rafale jets has also been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh. The IAF has also been carrying out night time combat air patrols over the eastern Ladakh region in an apparent message to China that it was ready to deal with any eventuality in the mountainous region.

The armies of the two countries are scheduled to hold a fresh round of talks on October 12.

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