China has introduced new weapons in a show of force against its Indian adversaries in the hotly contested Himalayan region between the two nations.
Amid escalating tensions in the India-administered Ladakh and China-administered Aksai Chin region, India and China have bolstered their respective military presence on both sides of the border.
On Tuesday, the People’s Liberation Army showed off footage of its new “rapid-fire” artillery, which was just deployed by its Tibet Military Region’s Shannan regiment, according to Newsweek.
The footage showed Chinese troops testing new 122mm caliber Howitzers and vehicle-mounted HJ-10 anti-tank missile systems for the first time.
The show of force follows a June skirmish that left at least 20 Indian troops dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties. Despite its willingness to exhibit its military’s strength, communist China has remained tight-lipped about its losses.
Newsweek reports that India has also conducted its own series of exercises in the Himalayan region, and acknowledged last week that Chinese forces had “transgressed” the Line of Actual Control separating the two countries in May.
The document, which condemned “unilateral Chinese aggression,” was subsequently removed, and prompted scrutiny from critics of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Indian Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Monday that the country’s troops are preparing for protracted tensions with China along the border region. However, in Beijing, the message remained optimistic with the government calling for cooperation between China and India.
"We will continue to deepen strategic mutual trust and expand shared interests with our neighbors and other developing countries," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The United States and other nations in the Pacific that seek to challenge China’s position in Asia are keen on roping India into a strategic coalition that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has referred to as “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
With leadership from President Donald Trump, the coalition includes Australia, South Korea, Japan, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Mekong states, Pacific Island countries, and India.