China mouthpiece says PLA 'confident of utterly defeating Indian army'

China's state-run media claims India would 'suffer a more disastrous defeat than in 1962'

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Bharatiya Janata Party activist burns a photograph of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Bharatiya Janata Party activist burns a photograph of Chinese President Xi Jinping. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — One of communist China's primary media outlets on Tuesday (Sept. 8) heightened already escalating tensions over a border dispute between India and China by claiming that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is confident of "utterly defeating" the Indian army should a conflict erupt.

On Monday (Sept. 7), China's western military command cried foul after Indian forces allegedly crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) into Chinese-claimed territory on the southern bank of Pangong Lake and fired warning shots. However, on Tuesday (Sept. 8), The Times of India cited the Indian army as stating that it was Chinese troops who fired shots in the air as they tried to approach Indian troops in eastern Ladakh on Monday.

At noon on Tuesday, Hu Xijin (胡錫進), editor-in-chief of China’s state-run mouthpiece the Global Times, posted a tweet in which he alleged that the purported firing of weapons by Indian troops had violated a long-standing agreement not to use firearms on the border. He then boasted that the PLA's weapons are superior in quantity and quality and claimed that if a military "showdown" were to occur, Indian soldiers would "suffer a more disastrous defeat than in 1962."

His reference to 1962 is the Sino-India War, which China won militarily but still essentially retreated back to pre-war lines in the end. In response, many Indian netizens reminded Hu that Indian forces successfully repulsed PLA incursions during the Nathu La and Cho La clashes in 1967, showing a significant improvement in Indian military capabilities over the clashes seen five years earlier.

Two hours later, Hu released another tweet, in which he claimed that India is underestimating China again as it had in 1962 and is miscalculating in its estimation that China "dare not fight a war." He then bragged that the PLA "has planned for the worst" and if a conflict were to arise it is "confident of utterly defeating [the] Indian army."

One Indian netizen retorted that China uses second-hand copies of third-generation weapons and relies on quantity over quality, while India's soldiers "are sons of Himalayas and know how to fight in high altitude."

Indeed, even Chinese military experts have praised Indian troops for their mountaineering training, which Huang Guozhi, senior editor of Modern Weaponry magazine in June described as "an essential skill for almost every member of the Indian mountain army. To this end, India even recruited a large number of professional mountaineers and amateur mountaineers from the private sector."

Given the high-altitude environment of the Ladakh border, the acclimatization to low oxygen and extreme cold and training in rock craft, ice craft, endurance, and tactical operations that are taught in the Indian Army's High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) arguably provide Indian forces an edge in the event a clash were to erupt in the region.