US General flags China’s ‘alarming build-up’ in the area bordering India
As face-offs continue at some friction points at the border in Ladakh, China has ramped up its infrastructure capabilities on its side there and it is “simply not helpful.” Sounding this note of caution a US top General also said in Delhi on Wednesday this development is “eye-opening” and termed it as “destabilizing and corrosive behavior” besides alarming. Recently many reported that China building a second bridge on the Pangong Ts(lake)in Eastern Ladakh to enable its tanks and armored vehicles to rush to the front quickly.
Taking note of the rapid development of infrastructure including roads, bridges, airfields, and helipads close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on its side in the Ladakh region, Commanding General, US Army Pacific General Charles A Flynn said these activities are “eye-opening.” He also said some of the infrastructures under construction created are alarming.
He described it as “destabilizing and corrosive behavior” by China and said “I believe that the activity level is eye-opening. I think some of the infrastructures that are being created in the Western Theatre Command are alarming. And so much, like across all of their military arsenal, one has to ask the question, why.” He made these observations during an interaction with journalists in Delhi. Flynn said China’s ”incremental and insidious path, and destabilizing and corrosive behavior” projected on to the region was “simply not helpful.”
”I think it is worthy of us working together as a counterweight to some of those corrosive and corrupted behaviors that the Chinese [demonstrate],” said the General. Flynn said when one sees China’s military arsenal in all domains, one must ask the question of why is it needed. “So, I do not have a crystal ball to tell you how it (India-China border standoff) is going to end or where we will be at. I will express to you that it is worthy of asking this question and try to get their response as to what are their intentions” he noted.
Welcoming the ongoing talks between India and China to resolve the dispute at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, he said “however, behavior matters here as well. So, understanding what they are saying is one thing but the way they are acting and behaving through the way of build-up is concerning. It should be concerning to every one of us,” he noted.
Flynn also talked about how the behavior of China changed between 2014 and 2022. “I was in this command from 2014 to 2018 as the commander of the 25th infantry division and then the Deputy Commanding General of my current command (United States Army Pacific) as a two-star general. Then I left and went to the Pentagon to be the operations officer for the Army for three years and I came back a year ago,” he noted.
The visiting General said when he looks back on what the CCP and the PRC (People’s Republic of China) were doing than what they are doing today, it can be said they have taken an incremental and insidious path. The destabilizing and corrosive behavior that they project into the Indo-Pacific region is simply not helpful, he noted. “Our ability to strengthen the relationships in the region as a counterweight to those destabilizing activities and to strengthen the network of allies and partners and like-minded countries that care about the protection of their people, national sovereignty, land, resources, free and open Pacific Ocean and society,” Flynn said.
“I think it is worthy of us working together as a counterweight to some of those corrosive and corruptive behaviors that the Chinese do,” he said. India and China have held 15 rounds of military-level talks besides several rounds of parleys on the diplomatic level to defuse tension at the LAC in Ladakh for the last more than two years.
At present, more than 50,000 troops each from both sides are facing the other at some friction points. In fact, both sides remained deployed at the front posts even during the harsh winter months. Earlier, both sides used to retreat to their locations in the rear during the cold weather. The talks at the military and diplomatic levels in the last two years have resulted in the resolution of issues in the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, Galwan, and Gogra. Friction points now persist at Patrolling Point 15 (Hot Springs), Depsang Bulge, and Demchok.
Meanwhile, the visiting US General held talks with Army Chief General Manoj Pande on Tuesday and IAF chief V R Chaudhari CAS on Wednesday on ways to boost military cooperation.
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