India has deployed recently acquired U.S.-made weaponry along its border with China, part of a new offensive force to bolster its capabilities as the countries remain deadlocked over disputed territory in the Himalayas.
The buildup in India’s northeast is centered on the Tawang Plateau adjoining Bhutan and Tibet, a piece of land claimed by China but controlled by India. It holds historical political and military significance: In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India across nearby mountain passes to escape a Chinese military operation. Three years later, both sides fought a war in the area.
Now U.S.-manufactured Chinook helicopters, ultra-light towed howitzers and rifles as well as domestically made supersonic cruise missiles and a new-age surveillance system will back Indian troops in areas bordering eastern Tibet. The weapons have all been acquired in the past few years as defense ties between the U.S. and India have strengthened due to rising concerns about Chinese assertiveness.