Beijing: A week after the fourth round of 14-hour talks between the military commanders, the situation in the Pangong Lake area between the Indian and Chinese forces continues.
The Chinese Army is standing in the Finger-5 area and there have been no signs of its withdrawal in the last six days.
Amid tensions, Indian military officials are engaged in counting Chinese troops deployed by China’s People’s Liberation Army along the border with India and the surrounding military districts.
US-based PLA expert, Danis Blasko, has reported that an estimated 2,35,000 PLA troops are stationed along the border towards China, including border security personnel and PLA’s state-of-the-art mobile operation units under the PLA’s Western Theater Command, which The Indian border and the rest of China’s autonomous regions are monitored by Tibet and Xinjiang.
In March, Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Belfer Center also estimated that a total of 200,000–230,000 Chinese soldiers were ready for battle on the ground under the Western Theater Command, including Tibet and Xinjiang military districts.
It consists of PLA border defense units permanently stationed at the border. Its work includes border management and border patrolling. The PLA’s Western Theater Command has two group armies – the equivalent of the Corps.
The 77th Group Army, headquartered in Sichuan, consists of 6 Combined Arms Brigades and 7 Support Brigades.
Of these, 3 Combined Arms Brigades are located in Tibet, reducing the strength of about 35,000 personnel in Sichuan.
They are located in an area of about 1,400 km in Lhasa. The 76th Group Army, headquartered in Ningxia consists of the Combined Arms Brigade and 6 Support Brigades.
Its 50,000 soldiers are stationed in Kinhai, Gansu and Xinjiang in an area of about 1,600 km from Lhasa.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the 16 Border Defense Regiment, with about 40,000 personnel, monitors Tibet and Xinjiang’s 5,000-km border with India, Nepal and Bhutan.
These border defense regiments spread to remote outposts outside the border, sometimes using small drones to monitor the area or by patrolling by foot and vehicle between the outposts.
Blasco says patrols patrol in the routine as squads (about eight men) or sometimes as paltoons (about 40 soldiers).
Its job is to inspect and report. These are the patrols who keep in touch with the Indian patrols.
War operations are the work of PLA’s ‘Mobile Operational Units’ or ‘Combined Arms Brigade’. These are assigned to the ‘group armies’ of the PLA or placed under the Tibet and Xinjiang military districts.
The Combined Arms Brigade is one of the combat structures formed in 2017 under the far-reaching reforms of the PLA.
It consists of 5,000–6,000 soldiers. The brigade has armored vehicles, artillery and air defense guns, engineers and other branches required for the brigade, which operate independently.