China has begun deploying robotic vehicles armed with machine guns along its border with India after Chinese troops struggled to handle the altitude and terrain, reports said last week.
According to Fox News, China has reportedly deployed unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) to the Tibet region in an effort to strengthen its position along the border. The People’s Liberation Army obtained the UGV’s in 2014, but they have largely been unused until now.
The PLA has two different types of UGV’s: the Sharp Claw and the Mule-200. The former can be controlled by an operator wirelessly in addition to moving on its own, and the latter can act as both an unmanned delivery truck or operate weapons, including mounted firearms.
WION News reported that China has deployed nearly 400 vehicles to Tibet, with most of them stationed near the border.
Human rights groups – including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic – have called for world leaders to cease developing war robots for nearly 10 years with little success.
In addition to the robotic vehicles, China has reportedly built 10 new airbases along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, according to sources in the security establishment, The Telegraph India reported.
“Intelligence reports suggest the Chinese have built at least 10 new airbases along the LAC in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. This is very serious considering the 16-month-old border standoff in eastern Ladakh,” one security official said.
The official added that the PLA has previously erected military camps, as well as watchtowers equipped with CCTV cameras, inside the India-claimed territory in Ladakh to watch for Indian troop deployments.
“It’s a matter of extreme concern the way they have been ramping up their military and air force infrastructure close to the LAC and also inside the occupied zones,” the security official said. “It’s apparent that the Chinese are bolstering their positions while talks are under way to resolve the border standoff.”
In response to Chinese aggression along the LAC, India’s Defence Ministry has been regularly reviewing the country’s military preparedness along the China frontier. India has executed mirror deployment at the line to reflect the Chinese, including additional troops, artillery, and infantry combat vehicles, as well as extra aerial surveillance.
“The defence top brass have been conducting regular meetings to discuss infrastructure and capability development along the LAC,” a ministry official said.
In October, for the first time in history, the Indian Army deployed large artillery systems and Indian forces mobilized a K9-Vajra self-propelled howitzer regiment in the forward areas in Ladakh along the LAC with China, the Times of India reported. The K9-Vajra howitzers were seen navigating the mountainous terrain in Ladakh with ease and at high speed during a series of military drills.