China Deploys Bombers as Tensions Rise

In early June, Indian and Chinese forces butted heads in an encounter along the Line Actual Control. The skirmish resulted in 20 Indian soldiers being killed, as well as 43 Chinese troops injured and killed. China isn’t showing any signs of retreat.

China has moved six H-6 heavy bombers to an airfield, within striking distance of Indian forces along the heavily contested Chinese-Indian border in the Himalayas. The Line of Actual Control is a boundary between Indian and Chinese forces, one drawn by diplomats as part of a truce following a border war in 1962. While the time frame for the bombers’ arrival is unclear, satellite imagery suggests they could have arrived as recently as July.

The stand-off continues along the border with Indian and Chinese aircraft patrolling the contested zone. Both of the countries’ bases that lie near the Line of Actual Control are well above sea-level. The Chinese base Kashgar is 4,000 feet above sea level, making it harder for aircraft to take-off, due to the thin air. This means aircraft can take only small payloads and will be forced to use minimal fuel, less fuel means less range.

If this conflict continues further it may very well erupt into a full-scale war. One that will likely see Russia side with China, dragging the US in to help back India. This is a conflict that could take a turn for the worst very quickly.

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