NEW DELHI: In a massive infrastructure upgrade along its borders with India post-Doklam stand-off in 2017, China is constructing at least 13 ‘entirely new’ military positions — three air bases, five permanent air defence positions and five heliports — near the Line of Actual Control, a report published by US-based global security consultancy Stratfor has revealed.
The report authored by Sim Tack said construction on four of those new heliports, in fact, started after the current border stand-off erupted in eastern Ladakh in early May. “The 2017 Doklam crisis appears to have shifted China’s strategic objectives, with China more than doubling its total number of air bases, air defense positions and heliports near the Indian border over the past three years,” it said.
The report released on Tuesday said China’s construction drive projects a future military capability that will see long-term regional tensions with India sustained beyond the two countries’ recent stand-offs.
A significant portion of Beijing’s recent infrastructure developments is aimed directly at strengthening its ability to project air power along the entire Indian border at a time when New Delhi itself is trying to rebuild its air power, the report said.
It has drawn parallels between the Chinese infrastructure build-up along the LAC and that in South China Sea, saying the aim is to caste a discouraging effect on future Indian military action. Commenting on Indian military, it said the recent procurement of the Rafale fighter aircraft has started to provide it some relief, but more time will be required to see indigenous production and foreign acquisitions truly rebuild the IAF strength. An Indian response is on to counter the broader strategic threat posed by the Chinese, it said.