China is “upgrading” its military theater command that covers operations at or near its border with India as it prepares to confront and repel “any threat” from the south, a Chinese armed forces specialist told the communist nation’s propaganda newspaper the Global Times.
The Global Times reports:
China is upgrading its Western Theater Command in order to confront any threat from India, a Chinese military specialist said after photographs of a J-10 jet flying over the high-altitude plateau in western China were released by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during the Spring Festival holiday.
The pictures posted on the English version of the PLA website show a J-10 fighter jet and J-11 fighter jets conducting aerial combat training exercises in Western China on February 13, two days before Spring Festival. The jets are attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Western Theater Command, the post said.
In its 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) warned:
Relations between India and Pakistan are likely to remain tense, with continued violence on the Line of Control [LoC] and the risk of escalation if there is another high-profile terrorist attack in India or an uptick in violence on the Line of Control. We expect relations between India and China to remain tense and possibly to deteriorate further, despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August, elevating the risk of unintentional escalation,
Last year, China’s decision to deploy troops to accompany workers seeking to extend a road into the Doklam region triggered a nearly 70-day standoff between the two nuclear-armed rivals that ultimately ended peacefully.