Frontier Infrastructure: What's up on the PRC or Chinese side?

Discussion in 'China' started by pmaitra, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Frontier Infrastructure: What's up on the PRC or Chinese side?

    This is a thread to discuss military infrastructure and potential threats in the Peoples' Republic of China in regions bordering India, as well as military manoeuvres and facilities of the PLA and PLAAF.

    This is done to facilitate @bennedose (along with others of course) share his knowledge.

    Related thread for Indian side: http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/...ucture-loopholes-scenarios-etc-solutions.html
     
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  3. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    OK folks please bear with me. I have to start somewhere and there appear to be a lot of things to write about and later illustrate with some Google Earth screenshots and kmz links.

    Why did I start looking at Aksai Chin in detail?

    First of all it has been in the news recently with the Ladakh stand off. Secondly, I find that many people, including the media and some online/offline friends of mine have spent much effort talking about the Indian side and very little is said about what the Chinese have or are doing other than generalities like Bharat Karnad's claim of hundreds of megaton bombs aied at us and the standard media claim that "every inch of the border with India has metalled roads that can help China move two divisions in next to no time."

    I wanted to check how much of this could be fact, how much fiction and how much sheer scaremongering based on an innate fear of China instlled in all Indians ever since 1962 that seems to make almost every Indian react and speak as if we will simply get bulldozed and washed away. India and China share a 3500 km (approx) border and Aksai Chin has 600 plus km border with Tibet - but this is now occupied by China,, leaving a 200 km (or so) LAC (Line of Actual Control) with India that serves as the current border in Ladakh/J&K. Will post maps/images later, but I need to make an introductory post.

    Talk of war is meaningless unless we look at geography and Aksai Chin is a unique place. If you look at a map of J&K as displayed on Indian maps, J&K has two "horns" on the right side and left side. The right horn is Aksai Chin. Aksai Chin is more or less a plateau. It is is not totally fflat. It is mountainous terrain but it had many flat areas suitable for vehicular traffic and the mountains are not that much higher than the "plains". The unique thing about Aksai Chin is that the entire area is at an altitude above 5000 to 5500 meters. (16,000 to 18,000 feet). From the LAC one needs to travel over 150 km before the altitude drops significantly below 5000 meters. But on the Indian side the area becomes mountainous and within a much shorter distance one reaches valleys that are about 1 km lower than Aksai Chin. For the moment I will ignore the Indian side and speak of how this fact could affect Chinese operations.

    Other than Tibetans who underwent a genetic mutation 10,000 years ago that allows them to live at high altitude, other humans are unable to live for prolonged periods at altitudes that Aksai Chin represents That means that all soldiers must undergo at least one month acclimatization. Even after acclimatization altitude sickness takes its toll on humans so there must be medical facilities available - ideally a pressurized chambers for immediate relief and a rapid evacuation to lower altitudes. So a posting in a high altitude area such as Aksai Chin calls for good logistics and connectivity, and part of my inquiry was to see the nature of logistics and connectivity for the Chinese in Aksai Chin. Other facts to remember are that water boils at 80 deg C at 5000 meters. Even flames burn ate low temperatures. That means that cooking is difficult and prolonged and pre cooked food and fuel have to be supplied regularly. At the LAC in Aksai Chin the Chinese have to go a longer distance for evacuation to a lower altitude, unless they evacuate to the Indian side.:rolleyes:

    I have read that the Chinese have built oxygen enriched barracks for their soldiers in some high altitude areas of Tibet. It is likely that the same holds true in Aksai Chin as well. But if conflict occurs the soldiers will have to live and fight outside those barracks, and the use of oxygen enriched barracks only postpones acclimatization. As regards supplies, I will be showing what I have found of supply routes and possible tunnel where supplies may be stored.

    The real questions to me are
    1. In case of conflict, how are the Chinese placed to mount an offensive in the Aksai Chin area
    2. If India decides to mount an offensive, how are the Chinese placed to hold on the Aksai Chin?

    With these broad questions in mind and the above observations about altitude and distance I will try and post (in due course) what I traced/found/observed using Google earth imagery.
     
  4. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    I will start with an overview of Chinese roads in Aksai Chin.

    The image below taken from Google Earth has been edited by me to add some details. At the bottom left is a picture of Jamu and Kashmir with a white retangle that shows the area that is enlarged in the map.

    Aksai chin is a 5000 plus meter high plateau that is bounded by the Himalayas to the south and the Kunlun mountains (see map) to the north. The Kunlun mountains serve as a barrier between Tibet and Xinjiang.

    The borders (of Aksai China) claimed by India are in black, while the LAC is in red. The main all weather - all year highway that the Chinese have built via Aksai Chin is the G 219 and that is marked by a thick blue line. The Chinese built this in 1958. There are 8 branches from that main road going towards Aksai chin, numbered 1 to 8 on the map. All branches are coloured green except branch 2 which is coloured purple. The different colour indicates that it is a special branch road that does not extend to the LAC but seems to extend to a several military areas including what appears to be an entire complex of tunnels. I will post details of what is visible later.

    Indian placemarks in the map below are labelled as DBO (Daulat Beg oldi), Leh, Chushul and Nyoma.

    The blue coloured G 219, the Tibet-Xinjiang highway is said to be an all weather highway. The other roads do not appear to be all weather by any means. It is a half truth to assert that China has built a road all along the Indian border. The G 219 paralles the Indian border all the way up to Nepal and beyond, but it is frequently more than 100 km from the Indian border. hardly a "border road".

    The seven green coloured branch roads radiate out like fingers towards the LAC with India. Many of these roads actuall cross river beds and would be impassable at scertain times of the year. Most of these roads extend between 120 and 200 km or more from the G 219 to the LAC - so the logistics lines are really long. Some of thes roads pass sthrough really rough terrain and there is one road that has 106 hairpin bends in a distance of about 5 km! Most certainly not a motorway for carefree driving.

    Having said that teh Chinese have built up some infrastructure along the existing roads. I will detail what I have found later. The main Chines strong points correspond with the roads going to the LAC and the roads end near Indian places like DBO, Chusul and Nyma. One set of roads os adjacent to Leh but is not very close, unlike Chinese roads and positions near Chushul and DBO which are less than 15 km from the Indian positions.

    Will post some details in due course.
    There is also a kmz file indicating all the placemarks I have made on Google Earth
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bbTl4ZUZoU3hZY2c/edit?usp=sharing


    [​IMG]
     
  5. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    @bennedose

    Look at the pic below... China does have elevated all weather road till LAC. This road (T junction) is just 90 meters from LAC (thin red line) and 10km from DBO.

    Upper half of the pic is taken in summer, lower half in winter. Road going towards east links with 219, the roads going north and south are vehicular patrol routes along the LAC.

    [​IMG]

    This is another one on Depsang plains... This is also just 90 meters from LAC (thin red line) and 4km from our TAC HQ.

    Upper half of the pic is taken in summer, lower half in winter. Road going towards east links with 219 via Tianwendian Chinese Army Camp, the roads going south is vehicular patrol route along the LAC.

    [​IMG]

    This one is 8 km from Indian outpost of Gogra, again, metaled all weather road on Kangka La Pass, linked to 219

    [​IMG]

    This one is 3 km from Indian outpost of Gogra, again, metaled all weather road, linked to 219

    [​IMG]

    Same situation along Ane La Pass, Pangong Tso Lake, Pangur Tso Lake, Dumchule La & Demchok
     
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  6. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    Please post links to kmz files of your screenshots. The roads at the LAC may be good but what matters are the logistics lines through which supplies must arrive in case of hot war. Those logistics lines are certainly not good all year round.

    You need to trace every inch of every road as I have done and then you will see what the real state of those roads is. Every one of those branch roads from G 219 to LAC is more than 120 km long sometimes more than 200 km. And this is an estimate because I did not trace every curve and straightened lines for speed. Many roads pass across rivers and the road virtually disppears. You have shown screenshots of barely 20 or 30 km of a total of more than 600 km of roads. There can be no short cut. That is the whole purpose of tracing these things out in detail.

    I will be posting the small details in duecourse. What I have posted is just the bare overview.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  7. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Yup, did that, with eye at 6-8km. No barriers that a 6x6 or 8x8 cannot negotiate.

    Will post the coordinates instead of uploading kmz.

    Pic 1 : 35.372115,78.043656

    Pic 2 : 35.298507,78.020203

    Pic 3 : 34.335233,79.045901

    Pic 4 : 34.304857,78.993738

    Marsimik La : 34.054064,78.695229

    Ane La Pass : 33.967877,78.746599

    Pangong Tso Lake : 33.723769,78.777874

    Pangur Tso Lake : 33.565527,78.802689

    Dumchule La : 33.047109,79.34603

    Dumchule Military Base : 33.078076,79.173295

    Demchok : 32.918088,79.227787

     
  8. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    If you follow 600 plus km of roads from G 219 to LAC you wil find many areas where roads simply cross river beds and the road itsellf is obliterated. These roads will be good only when the rivers are not in spate or the place snowed in. I will only post three pictures of such areas selected at random from just ONE road - the road from G 219 to the DBO region which I have marked as road branch 3 in my overview image above.

    First the kmz file
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2bS1VtT3g2cFlzR0E/edit?usp=sharing

    The following images are close ups of what can be examined in detail from the kmz file above. In every case the road disappears or vistually diappears as it crosses a river bed. No bridge exists. This is no all weather road.

    In due course I will mark and post similar and other issues with all the other roads. Only some parts of the roads are good, generally near the LAC where a lot of military stuff is stationed. But I will concentrate first on posting visible details of that military stuff in subsequent posts - sector by sector.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Anyone who has the patience is welcome to trace every inch of road using the kmz file I have posted in an earlier reply. I have marked all the roads with lines including areas where the road vanishes for a few km and reappears further down. Find the roads using my lines for guidance, then turn off the layer and my tracing and follow the road yourself so that my line does not obstruct your view of the road.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
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  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Roads/ Highways in Tibet


    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Tonnage Through Tibet

    SECRET

    A methodology for assessing highway logistics applied in the Chinese Communist attack on India.

    TONNAGE THROUGH TIBET

    Philip Vetterling and Avis Waring


    A more than routine interest has recently been focused on problems of highway logistics by the Communist Chinese threat along the northeastern border of India. The magnitude of this threat depends in large part on the Chinese ability to move military supplies by road from railheads deep in China to the areas of conflict; air transport, the only alternative, is at present not available to the Chinese in significant capacity. It was therefore possible to make an estimate of the threat, in terms of the size of the military forces that could be supplied, by computing the capacity of the roads, setting this against the supply requirements of the forces actually in Tibet, and so determining what excess capacity was available to support additional troops in operations against India. Two other possibly limiting factors had also to be calculated - the number of trucks needed to move the supplies, and the amount of petroleum required to fuel the trucks. The methodology for these calculations, described in the following pages, can be used to estimate the size of military force that can be supported in other campaigns dependent on supply by road.



    Roads to the World's Roof
    The Chinese forces at the front lines on the Indian border were at the end of roads that wind 700 to 1,800 miles over high and rugged terrain. The three main access routes to Tibet are indicated on the accompanying map. The most important of these is the Tsinghai-Tibet highway running south from Golmo to Lhasa. Golmo can be reached by road either from the railhead in the vicinity of Hsia-tung on the transSinkiang railroad or from that at Hsi-ning west of Lan-chou.

    The major route for the movement of supplies appeared to be the former, from the Hsia-tung area southward through Golmo for about 1,000 miles to An-to or 1,300 miles to Lhasa. The average elevation of this road from Golmo on is about 14,000 feet. Troops along the western border of the North East Frontier Agency, those in the Chumbi Valley Opposite Sikkim, and those located as far west as the southern part of Ladakh were supplied by this route.

    The other two routes, supplying the extreme flanks, are about equal in importance to each other. The SzechwanTibet highway, running west from the railhead at Ch'eng-tu in Szechwan Province, served the troops in the Ch'ang-tu area and the eastern border of NEFA. It goes on from there to Lhasa, a total distance from Ch'eng-tu of about 1,200 miles, over extremely rugged terrain ranging to 12,000 feet in elevation. The third route runs from the railhead in the Urumchi area in northwestern China southwest to Kashgar, then southeast to the Ladakh area. From Urumchi to Rudog it covers about 1,340 miles at elevations ranging from 3,500 feet in the northern portions to between 11,000 and 16,000 feet in the south.

    The combined practical forward capacity of these access routes under ideal conditions was figured at 2,000 short tons per day-1,000 tons delivered to Lhasa via Golmo on the Tsinghai-Tibet highway, 500 tons delivered to Ch'ang-tu from Szechwan for the eastern flank, and 500 tons delivered over the Kashgar-Rudog road for the Ladakh front. These main access routes are supplemented by roads leading forward to the frontier and subsidiary east-west and north-south routes to a total of some 7,500 miles.



    Development of a Methodology

    By the mid-1950's policy makers as well as transportation intelligence specialists had become greatly concerned about the wide divergence in estimates of the capacities of identical transportation routes and facilities published in supposedly definitive U.S. and UK intelligence reports. These estimates were important to policy makers as a basis for determining the size of enemy forces that could be deployed and supported in various areas of the world. Without a common understanding of the factors which entered into the calculation of the capacities of the various forms of transportation, however, it had been impossible for the specialists who made the estimates to arrive at reasonably uniform conclusions. The disparities confused and irritated the policy makers.
    As a consequence, the Subcommittee on Transportation of the Economic Intelligence Committee, composed of transportation specialists of the U.S. community, undertook a series of studies which led to the formulation of methodologies for estimating the capabilities of railroads, roads, ports, and inland waterways.1 These were then sent to the XXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXX to get its views. After much consultation and exchange of correspondence, working-level agreement on the method for computing railroad capacity was reached in 1960 and on that for computing road capacity in 1961. These methods were subsequently approved by the logistics specialists who provide intelligence support for SHAPE and are now widely used by the intelligence components of NATO countries.

    In the U.S. government the task of estimating road capacities for intelligence purposes is performed primarily by the intelligence components of the Department of Defense. The estimate of 2,000 tons as the capacity of the major supply routes into Tibet was made originally by DOD analysts by these now standard methods and accepted by other components of the intelligence community. The process is described in brief below.

    One begins with the ideal capacity of a road of a given type of surface in perfect condition and good weather, straight, and without traffic hindrances. On paved roads 5-ton trucks are assumed to move at 25 miles per hour spaced 300 feet apart to allow for the "concertina" (compression wave) action inherent in any continuous truck convoy operation. On unpaved roads the dust hazard requires increased spacing and decreased speed. A simple calculation gives the number of trucks that can be moved in both directions during a 24-hour period, considering only the speed, interval between vehicles, and type of surface.

    This basic capacity is then reduced to obtain what is known as operational capacity, which makes allowance for the constraints imposed by driver inefficiency, vehicle casualties, essential maintenance enroute, and unforeseen operational developments. These contingencies are estimated to reduce the basic capacity by 20 percent. A practical capacity is obtained by applying further reduction factors to the operational capacity to take into account the following:

    Less than ideal road characteristics;
    Turning and crossing operations, including delays caused by convoys entering and leaving the highway and the movement across the highway of other essential traffic, civilian and military;
    Operational phasing, including the constraints created by administrative and civilian vehicles, stops for meals, refueling, driver rest periods, and the reduced efficiency of night operations.
    The resulting practical capacity is expressed in vehicles per day traveling in both directions. Multiplication by the net load per truck, in this case 3 tons, gives the daily tonnage in both directions, and half of this is the practical forward capacity of the road in tons per day.

    The value of the several reduction factors has been derived from engineering data on highway transportation and capacity, taking into account vehicle performance and road design, construction, and maintenance. Where precise data were not available on certain types of roads, the experience of highway transport specialists and engineers in truck convoy operations was consulted in assigning values.

    In formula form the calculation looks like this:

    B = 0.8A

    C = B-a-b-c-d-e-f

    D = gC

    E = D/2

    Where:

    A = basic capacity (vehicles per day)
    a = surface width reduction factor
    b = shoulder width reduction factor
    B = operational capacity (vehicle per day)
    c = curves and gradient factor
    C = practical capacity (vehicles per day)
    d = surface deterioration and maintenance factor
    D = practical capacity (tons per day)
    e = factor for turning and crossing movements
    E = practical forward capacity (tons per day)
    f = operational phasing factor
    g = load per truck in tons
    Capacity to Tibet
    The derivation of the capacity of the Tsinghai-Tibet and Szechwan-Tibet highways will illustrate the application of this methodology. The surface of the Tsinghai-Tibet highway from Golmo to Lhasa is given as crushed rock and gravel with some earth sections. The basic capacity of such a surface is 8,400 and the operational capacity 6,700 5-ton trucks per day. The reduction factors are as follows:



    Symbol Characteristic Description Reduction Factor
    a Surface width 30 feet 1.0
    b Shoulder width Less than 3 feet 0.8
    c Curves and gradient Over 7 percent 0.6
    d Surface condition Fair with most subsoil 0.5
    e Turning and crossing movements 0.85
    f Operational phasing 0.5
    g Load per truck 3 tons


    The practical capacity is then 6,700 X 1.0 X 0.8 X 0.6 X 0.5 X 0.85 X0.5 = 683 vehicles, carrying, at an average load of 3 tons, 2,049 tons per day in both directions. Halving this gives a practical forward capacity of 1,025 tons, which may be rounded to 1,000 tons per day.

    The surface of the Szechwan-Tibet highway from Ch'eng-tu to Lhasa via Ch'ang-tu is given as crushed rock, gravel, and sand, this also having an operational capacity of 6,700 vehicles per day. But the reduction for surface width and condition is greater:



    Symbol Characteristic Description Reduction Factor
    a Surface width 12 to18 feet 0.6
    b Shoulder width Less than 3 feet 0.8
    c Curves and gradient Over 7 percent 0.6
    d Surface condition Fair to poor, with most subsoil 0.4
    e Turning and crossing movements 0.85
    f Operational phasing 0.5
    g Load per truck 3 tons


    1 For a detailed explanation of these methodologies, see Department of the Army Field Manual FM 55-8, Transportation Intelligence, December 1961.



    SECRET


    Historical Document
    Posted: May 08, 2007 07:46 AM
    Last Updated: Aug 04, 2011 03:04 PM
    Last Reviewed: May 29, 2008 01:48 PM


    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-...ence/kent-csi/vol7no2/html/v07i2a02p_0001.htm


    **************************

    A backgrounder.

    China has large warehouses at strategic locations, where food essentials are stocked, ostensibly for the civil population, but actually for the military and the increments during active combat.
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Evolving Threat from PLA along Indo-Tibetan Border: Implications

    Brig (Retd) Vinod Anand, Senior Fellow, VIF


    Early this month the Research and Analysis Wing in its threat assessment conveyed to the government that "there was a possibility of a skirmish or an incident triggered by China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). ...Beijing was contemplating such an action to divert attention from its own domestic trouble." The above RAW report is not much different from its assessment of September 2009 when it ruled out any ‘major military adventure’ (but was silent on the possibility of a minor or limited conflict) by China against India in immediate future as this could derail its own economy. The report of 2009 also detailed the efforts being made by China in India’s neighbourhood aimed at isolating India. However, dwelling on PLA’s activity on Indo-Tibetan border R & AW’s assessment of 2009 had emphasized that China’s ‘recent incursions into India were part of the well-planned design to keep India on the tenterhooks and force it to divert attention from its primary development objectives’. “As such we feel that the pinpricks of incursion would continue”. And incursions or in some quarters ‘transgressions’ by PLA across the Line of Actual continue till today with impunity. Any of these incursions could become a prelude for limited conflict with India whether intended (by China) or unintended.

    Whatever be the basis or inputs for coming to R&AW’s conclusions it cannot be denied that there would continue to be a near term threat from China as long as the border dispute remains unsolved.

    In last three years the PLA has created capacities in Tibetan plateau which have distinctly enhanced the quality of threat being posed by China’s military posture in Tibet. With ever increasing defence budgets, increase in frequency of PLA training exercises in Tibet since 2010, improvements in military infrastructure as well as improvements in the weapons and equipment for high altitude and mountain warfare, the operational readiness of PLA to undertake agile and well-coordinated joint operations has been tremendously enhanced.

    PLA Trains for India-Specific Operations

    In 2010 an exercise to transport ‘strategic logistic equipment’ from Qinghai plateau to Tibet plateau by rail was carried out; this equipment was meant for the Air Force and missile units; therefore it was deduced that these were the ballistic missiles and some other missiles. There were also reports that this was being done for the first time. It is believed that the exercise was designed to test whether the missiles could withstand pressure differences during the transportation and as well as at the destination due to rarified atmosphere of Tibet. In another military exercise of October 2010 PLA conducted (said to be for the first time) a live-fire joint training drill involving Air Force, armour, artillery and Electronic Warfare units on the Tibetan plateau. The aim of exercise was to test the endurance of the soldiers at an altitude of 4700 meters with its harsh climate and lack of oxygen.

    The momentum for training the PLA for India-specific operations was continued in the next year when two joint exercises in Chengdu and Lanzhou Military Regions were conducted. One was held at Army Group level to practice a division size force in joint and integrated operations including Special Forces and another was conducted in October, 2011 to practice a live-fire drill comprising air force and armour and artillery units.

    Further, in March this year a ground attack training drill with the PLA Air Force’s (PLAAF) J-10 fighters was conducted. The J-10 used Laser Guided Bombs to hit the pre-designated targets. In May, an engineering unit of the PLAAF announced it had “modified” aircraft to make them more suited to the harsh environment of the Tibetan plateau and pledged that it would improve aircraft maintenance work. This year was also for the first time that PLAAF positioned their fighter aircraft in Gongga airfield near Lhasa for the first time during the winter months. Activation of new surveillance and tracking radars in the Lanzhou Military Region which is responsible for looking after border with India in the western and central sectors was also resorted to for monitoring Indian activity during the PLA exercise conducted last month. In addition an exercise was carried out to practice anti-tank units in live fire practice with the aim to “test their precision strike capability”.

    In fact 2012 has already become a year when maximum amount of training activity has been carried out by the Chengdu Military Region and the military formations under it. In addition to training events mentioned above a war game described as ‘command and confrontation’ drill of command-and-staff organs based on information systems was organized by Chengdu MR in June. Over 100 high-ranking officers from the leading organs and troop units above regiment level of the Chengdu were said to have attended the exercise and studied the ways of command and confrontation training of the command-and-staff organs under information-based conditions. Apparently, this was the highest level war-game that involved both the 13th and 14th Group Armies with possibly representation from Lanzhou MR. The battlefield situation and awareness picture was depicted on a large screen where the moves of Red and Blue forces were plotted and discussions carried out. No prizes for guessing as to who could have been painted as the adversary in this war-game.

    The above training efforts indicate the direction and focus of PLA’s manoeuvers therefore R&AW’s assessment on likelihood of China-initiated conflict cannot be easily discounted. Another factor which lends a certain degree of validity is the furious pace at which China has created infrastructure facilities, both military and civilian, on Tibetan plateau.

    Synthesis of Civilian and Military Infrastructure

    While the current politico-military leadership of China has paid great attention to develop military and civilian infrastructure as part of Western Area Development plans the President in waiting Mr. Xi Jinping is also a great proponent of Mao’s strategic concept of the 'unity between soldiers and civilians'. Sometime back Mr. Xi had remarked that both the army and regional civilian authorities should assiduously pool resources in the preparation for military struggle (against China's enemies). Thus the civilian infrastructure created in the frontier provinces of Tibet and Xinjiang has been also designed to strengthen national defence capabilities. And looking at Xi Jinping’s proclivities a larger share of national resources is likely to be allotted for PLA in the coming years.

    It is also well known that the robust and extensive rail and road network built on Tibet plateau is meant for economic exploitation of natural resources and for speedy induction and deployment of military forces for both internal and external contingencies. In its current Five Year Plan (2011-2015) for Tibet China would be extending rail line from Lhasa to Shigatse (opposite Sikkim) and to Nyingchi town (closer to Arunachal Pradesh border). Extension of rail to Kathmandu is also on the anvil. Further, PLA is developing Bayi base of PLA next to Nyingchi. Bayi would be a key central base for launching operations across border with Arunachal Pradesh. While the infrastructure development activities in and around Bayi (including an airport nearby) are being done under the garb of developing tourism infrastructure they would also benefit PLA’s operational plans tremendously.

    Upgrading of airports, especially the lengthening of the runways to more than 4500 meters at Nyingchi, Ngar Gunsi in Gar County in Western Tibet opposite Ladakh in addition to Gongga airfield near Lhasa and at Chamdo, are specifically designed to cater for both defence and civil requirements.

    Further, over the years there have been reports based on the inputs provided by the local Tibetans that PLA has developed underground missile and weapons storage sights where the tunnels and other underground infrastructure has been developed in secrecy largely using the Chinese workers. Large trucks and missile shaped objects have been seen entering the underground storage complexes especially at Bayi town near Nyingchi. These missile sights are expected to house DF-21 intermediate range missile which could cover most of the cities in India and short range missiles with range varying between 200 to 600 kilometers to hit targets closer to the possible areas of operations.
    Alarmed with the accelerated development of infrastructure in Tibet the Indian Army had made a presentation in May 2011 to the Defence Minister, Defence Secretary and the NSA that PLA could move 34 Divisions to Tibet in a maximum threat scenario. The military brass was particularly concerned with the widening asymmetry between our infrastructure in the border areas and that of the Chinese.

    In another development this year the repaving work on the Xinjiang section of the Xinjiang-Tibet National Road, (which was a graveled road) would be completed by August this year. This would enable switching of forces between Xinjiang and Tibet thus giving more flexibility in deployment of PLA.

    Improving the Quality of PLA

    For over a decade the PLA has been concentrating on giving a practical shape to its doctrine of fighting ‘Local Wars under the Conditions of Informalisation’. Towards realizing the objectives of this concept it has improved its C4ISR capabilities in Tibet tremendously. It has laid out a vast network of underground fiber optic communication lines which provide redundancy and secure means of communications and enhance its information warfare capabilities. Placing of several types of military satellites in space has enabled the PLA to provide force multiplication to its ground assets. For instance 58 Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite stations are part of the robust command and control structure in Tibet whereas Indian forces have limited capacities in this field. There are reports that PLAAF units and sub-units have been linked through satellite links.

    Further, there is abroad-band connectivity and secure means of communications between successive higher HQs including Lanzhou and Chengdu Military Region back to Beijing.

    Recent reports suggest that PLA has constructed fifth generation barracks for the troops in the high altitude areas of Lanzhou and Chengdu Military regions. PLA has also constructed hyperbaric chambers which would enable accelerated acclimatization of troops being inducted from lower altitudes. All these preparations point towards acquiring the capacities for a quick mobilization and induction of forces for a surprise strike.

    India’s Response

    As a result of mounting threat from China India had gone in for raising of two mountain divisions in the North-East besides deployment of additional fighter squadrons along with a fresh push for development of rail, road and military infrastructure in the border areas. Last year in August, as part of upgrading its defensive posture from dissuasion to deterrence the government had accepted a proposal for raising of a Mountain Strike Corps at Pannagarh in West Bengal, positioning of two armoured regiments at Nathu La in Sikkim and Fukche in Ladakh respectively, and deployment of an additional infantry brigade in Barahoti plains of Uttarakhand. The proposal had been approved by the Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Committee on Security. But this month, in a classical example of politico-bureaucratic red-tapism the proposal has been sent to the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) in order to bring the navy and air force on board and broad base military capability against China. Such a move would result in nothing but more delay as COSC is merely a talking shop where each service chief is supposed to defend its own turf. Evidently the government is not seized with urgency to mitigate the gap in military capabilities along the Indo-Tibetan borders that is becoming wider with the passage of time.

    As far as border roads infrastructure is concerned elaborate plans in the shape of Long Term Perspective Plan I and II have been made. But as usual, the implementation of the plans has been very tardy. The slow pace of execution has been attributed to delay in obtaining clearances from multiple authorities, resistance shown by concerned state PWDs in handing over of roads and shortage of staff and restricted fund flows. The Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence had carried out a detailed review of the BRO’s projects in March last year pointing out the inordinate delays and reasons for the same. However even after more than a year there has been hardly any reassessment of the BRO’s projects. Plans that should have been executed on war-footing lack suitable and robust oversight, monitoring and coordination mechanisms.

    What Needs to be Done

    While upgrading the dissuasive posture to a deterrence posture would take some time it is the filling in of gaps in our dissuasive forces that needs to be undertaken urgently. A number of measures to strengthen our defence preparedness have been suggested by the outgoing Army Chief and the current incumbent. Some of the priority actions that need to be taken are outlined below:-

    The HUMINT cover along the borders needs to be augmented; the density of intelligence posts should also be increased.

    The quality of the ELINT and COMINT capabilities along the borders needs to be improved and the depth and breadth of such a cover should be enhanced.
    Similarly satellite cover for ISR and target acquisition needs to be supplemented on an urgent basis.

    Above all basic wherewithal like ammunition deficiencies and improvement of ammunition dumps as brought out by the current and outgoing Army Chiefs, need to be made up speedily. There are large scale voids which has also been described as ‘critical hollowness’ in the army that includes tanks running out of ammunition, obsolete air defence systems and lack of essential weaponry, and lack of critical surveillance and night-fighting capabilities for infantry and special forces.

    Acquisition of ground attack helicopters, speeding up the acquisition of artillery especially the ultra-light howitzers ex-USA that can be deployed in the mountains and are transportable by helicopters should be resorted to at the earliest. Acquisition of UAV’s and Drones would add to our surveillance, reconnaissance and precision strike capabilities.

    The R & AW Report is a timely warning which needs to be taken seriously by our politico-bureaucratic combine otherwise we may be in for another Kargil like surprise. No opportunity should be given to China to teach us a lesson again. In fact we should be prepared to teach a lesson if any conflict is initiated by the PLA. And finally, one should remember the dictum that weakness invites aggression.
    Published Date: 26th July 2012

    The Evolving Threat from PLA along Indo-Tibetan Border: Implications | Vivekananda International Foundation
     
  13. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    Hi Ray

    I think I know you and you know me (under a different name, different time, different forum). Really pleased to see you here if you are the Brig Ray.

    Anyhow I will continue with what i have been doing. I will start with the DBO area and then work my war to other areas including the Chushul area/Pangong lake and Spangur lake

    First, here is a kmz file of all the roads and Chinese mil installations I could see near the DBO area
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3JNY4IY8u2beWZiYUxUWV9yN2M/edit?usp=sharing

    Below is an overview map and if you use the kmz file you can see the details I have marked.
    [​IMG]

    The screenshot below shows a 5000 square foot Chinese red roofed building just 4 km from the LAC. I suspect it must house at least 100 men
    [​IMG]

    The next image is of a tunnel near the LAC near DBO. I have no idea what the Chinese do with such tunnels
    [​IMG]

    There is a nearby military complex and I suspect there are underground facilities there - some things look like vents or entrances
    [​IMG]

    The last image is of a 75 meter long bridge in the area. The Chinese do not have bridges across many rivers and tracks simply cross the rivers. For then to build a bridge in this area they must consider it imposrtant. therefore thios bridge would be a target for India in case of hostilities. All the locations of all these features are in the kmz file above
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    @bennedose

    The maps and the details are very interesting and very informative, more so because of it being annotated by you.

    Good to see you here and your detailed knowledge with surely help many who are interested in knowing more about the issues of national security.

    I have given the posts for assistance to your analysis on the Chinese overall fighting potential from Tibet and then with increment from the mainland.

    One should also take in the tonnage that can be brought up through the Tibet Railway.

    I believe they are extending the railways beyond Lhasa.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  16. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    This is the Karakax River at its upper reaches, very close to the Hot Spring Area where an Indian patrol was ambushed in the late 50s. The Kizil Jilga which originates at the end of Raki Nala flows east into the Karakax River at a place little south of this bridge. To the further east, lies a lake, and to the north flows this river, which then turns east, joins Yurungkax river to become the Hotan river, and against north into Hotan area or Tarim Basin. Interestingly, much of Highway G219 is along Yurungkax river.
     
  17. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Thanks for sharing, Sir. So, QTR is the game-changer that enables PRC to mobilize up to a quarter million PLA troops within striking distance of Indian borders, in less than a month. And, once their proposed extensions get completed in this decade, the logistical advantage that PLA has, would multiply manifold. All this while, GoI has been doing planning & feasibility studies of bringing railway to Sikkim, Bhutan & Kathmandu.

    But, I do not think that creating the world's highest railroads through most inhospitable terrains (though, definitely impressive) is an achievement that we would be unable to emulate. All it required is political will, capital, technology & expertise.

    PRC has political will & capital in abundance, especially earmarked for infrastructure creation purposes. Technology & related expertise it gets from foreign vendors & consultants (what this paper fails to mention is that QTR project leveraged multiple EU consultancies- especially French, German & Swiss). Then, the locomotives are all powered by GE engines (as mentioned in the paper).

    We can do the same, provided GoI shows the necessary resolve & commitment. As & when our ongoing economic woes keep getting addressed incrementally/gradually, more & more capital would be available for such projects. Foreign expertise is always there for hire. GE has more investment, presence & overall business in India than in China. Same goes for several major US/European design consultancies.

    So, even though we might take more time to complete the same, but nevertheless, we would be able to accomplish the troop-mobilization potential what PRC has, in our own innovative ways (a mix of all-weather roads, mostly heptrs & fixed-wing ferries, some railroads for carrying armour & retaining some mule tracks for slowing down PLA's advance, in case they manage to find some hole in Indian defences.
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    @TrueSpirit,

    India can do everything that is required to be done, but then the Govt must have the True Spirit to do it.

    Govt does not have that spirit.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  19. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    He is Brig Ray and i think we have an idea about you and where you come from, Neelkanth :D
     
  20. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes, Sir.

    However, till a few years back, the dominant view was that the defensive mindset of GoI as well as IA mandates that there should be limited logistical infrastructure on Indian side, so that PLA cannot leverage the same, during their advance in the Indian territories. I believe, this has changed only recently; around 6-8 years back, when it was found (by some committee) that, in view of growing asymmetry between the mobilization capabilities of IA & PLA, it would be counter-productive if we held on to the maxim of "not loosing an inch of territory", even at the cost of being unable to launch counter-offensives.

    So, maybe because we have started too late, we are witnessing the poor preparedness on Indian side. I mean, this cannot be the only factor but it could be one of the possible factors. Anyway, if we can maintain complete air-superiority in the border regions, troops can always be air-lifted (at least, fixed-winged transport is something where our side seems to enjoy a considerable advantage over PLA).

    If (a big if), HAL/DRDO (DPSU's, in general) can deliver on some their projects (like they have delivered in ALH, Pinaka, LCH, Brahmos, multiple long-range missiles & anti-ballistic missiles) & if "Medium Transport Aircraft" program comes to fruition, we can be more or less self-reliant in case of air-lift capability. This air-lift capability is going to be our last succor, in case we fail in creating necessary border infrastructure, in timely manner.

    One thing I am clueless about, how do we plan to move our armour in the relevant theater (ex. some flat lands north of Chicken-neck enclave or Tibetan plateau). While we do not have the option of railroads & capable roads, even our airlift capability would not be enough is being able to ferry enough mass of armour in a defined time-window.

    Even the best we have (C-17) can only airlift 1 of our tanks at a time (or maybe, 2, if engine, APU, ammunition, fuel is ferried separately).

    APC's & IFV's alone might not be enough for counter-offensives & we do not have any plans for light-tanks.

    Even light-artillery acquisition has failed to take-off (maybe, FMS route could fix that at some point of time).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  21. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    LOL Good guess
     
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