China has started construction of at least 13 entirely new military positions including three air bases, five permanent air defence positions and five heliports near the Line of Actual Control(LAC) in the aftermath of the Doklam standoff in 2017, according to a report by American security consultancy company Stratfor.
The report also said construction on four of those new heliports started only after the current border standoff erupted in eastern Ladakh in early May.
“The 2017 Doklam crisis appears to have shifted China’s strategic objectives, with China more than doubling its total number of air bases, air defense positions, and heliports near the Indian border over the past three years,” it said.
The report authored by security expert Sim Tack and released on Tuesday said China’s construction drive projects a future military capability that will see long-term regional tensions with India sustained beyond the two countries’ recent standoffs.
The report said the recent procurement of the Rafale fighter aircraft by India has started to provide it some relief, but more time will be required to see indigenous production and foreign acquisitions truly rebuild the strength of India’s air force.
It observed that the ongoing escalation in the Ladakh region has started to formulate an Indian response to the broader strategic threat posed by China’s ongoing military infrastructure drive.
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