India’s military has ordered an “emergency procurement” of weapons and special equipment to its western Himalayan border with China, India’s government said on Monday.
“On the basis of the threat perception and technology available, the armed forces are procuring terrain and weather-specific equipment to thwart the likely threat from our Northern adversary,” India’s Minister of State for Defense Shripad Naik said in a statement to Press Trust of India (PTI) on February 8, referring to China.
“In the current standoff, emergency procurement for certain arms and equipment have been undertaken by the armed forces to beef up their combat potential,” he added.
The supplies have been ordered to the northern Indian state of Ladakh, according to PTI. India is currently engaged in a months-long border standoff with China that began in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley last summer. A hand-to-hand clash between Indian and Chinese border regiments on June 15 killed 20 Indian troops and an estimated 40 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. It marked the deadliest military conflict between India and China along their Himalayan border in 45 years and launched an ongoing standoff between the two sides.
“Close to 100,000 Indian and Chinese troops are currently deployed in eastern Ladakh as both sides have been holding on to their ground and showing readiness for a long-haul, amid continuing diplomatic and military talks to find an amicable solution,” PTI noted on Monday.
Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh revealed on Monday that India was also in the process of bolstering its air defenses, which are crucial to the country’s border protection in the high-altitude Himalayas. Singh said that the Indian Air Force will procure six additional Rafale fighter jets from France by next month as part of an ongoing weapons trade.
“I want to inform that till [now] 11 Rafale have arrived and by this March 17 Rafale will be on our land. I also inform that all Rafale will … reach India by April 2022,” Singh said.
New Delhi signed an inter-governmental deal with Paris in 2016 to secure 36 Dassault Rafale French twin-engine aircraft for $8.85 billion.
China’s foreign ministry on Monday accused India of being responsible for the “root cause” of their ongoing border dispute.
“For a long time, the Indian side has conducted frequent acts of trespass in the border area in an attempt to encroach on China’s territory and constantly created disputes and frictions, which is the root cause of the tensions at the China-India border,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Weng Wenbin said at a daily press briefing.
“We urge the Indian side to follow through on the consensus, agreements, and treaties it reached with China, and uphold peace and stability in the border region with concrete actions,” he added.