The US military on Wednesday said ‘acute tension and conflict’ between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since May 2020 has provided the PLA with ‘valuable real-world operational and tactical experience’. The US Department of Defense conducted this assessment. There is a mandatory report of congress entitled ‘Military and Security Development involving the People’s Republic of China’, which is called the ‘Official Assessment on Military and Security Developments’ involving China. The first one was issued in 2000.
Using tensions between India and China in Ladakh, the report highlights major developments in the PLA’s modernization and reform and provides insight into the PRC’s regional and global ambitions. A report states that the standoff began after the PLA began infiltrating into Indian-controlled territory starting in May 2020.
In 2020, intense tensions and skirmishes along the border with India led to the formation of significant PLA (People’s Liberation Army) forces and the establishment or enforcement of further positions along the Line of Actual Control. According to the report, PLA gained real-world operational and tactical experience from these tensions. In addition to concentrating troops at several standoff locations along the LAC, the PLA has also deployed forces from Tibet and Xinjiang to the interior of western China to provide a quick response.
Several unarmed clashes were reported along the LAC in early May 2020 between Indian and PLA troops. According to the Defense Department report, the PLA developed a fiber-optic network in remote areas of the western Himalayas during the border standoff in 2020 to provide faster communications and increase security against foreign interference.
Furthermore, the report stated that despite ongoing diplomatic and military dialogue to de-escalate tensions along the border, China continues to take incremental and strategic actions to assert its claims. ‘Sometime in 2020, the PRC built a big 100-house civic village Inside the disputed territory between the Tibet Autonomous Region of the PRC and the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern region of the LAC. These and other infrastructure development efforts with India-China (sic) have been a source of panic in the Indian government and the media,’ the report says.
Alternatively, the PRC has accused India of provoking the impasse through its increased infrastructure development along the LAC. Beijing justified its deployment along the LAC as a response to Indian provocation, refusing to withdraw any force until India’s forces were back behind the PRC LAC and infrastructure in the area.