Experts: Indian media oversensitive to appearance of J-20 in Tibet

China Military Online
Zhang Tao

BEIJING, Sep. 5 (ChinaMil) -- A photo showing China's stealth fighter J-20 spotted at the Daocheng Yading Airport on the Internet triggered the sensitive nerve of Indian media, who claimed that the "deployment of J-20 in Tibet" is a counter measure against India's plan to deploy the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile along the China-India border.

However, Chinese experts said that the time when the picture was taken is not clear, and even if the J-20 is put into service, it is not likely to be deployed first on the China-India border. Moreover, even if J-20 really appeared in the Daocheng Yading Airport, it may turn out to be a high altitude performance test.

Deployment of J-20 in Tibet?

The website of New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) reported on September 2 that "Days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to China for the G-20 summit, an image has appeared of China's first stealth fighter, the J-20, reportedly at the Daocheng Yading airport in the high-altitude Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture which lies to the east of Arunachal Pradesh."

The report said "The image of the stealth fighter appeared on Twitter and on two defense websites, days after China warned India against deploying the supersonic BrahMos missile along the Himalayas."

However, it is reported that the Indian Army rejected those concerns, telling NDTV, "Our threat perceptions and security concerns are our own, and how we address these by deploying assets on our territory should be no one else's concern."

According to the report, the image of the J-20 shows the fighter covered in tarpaulin at the Daocheng Yading Airport, which is located at an altitude of more than 14,000 feet, making it the world's highest civilian airport. "The deployment of the J-20 to the air base also shows that the fighter can operate from extreme high-altitude air fields, where the reduced density of air severely restricts the amount of fuel and ordnance that can be carried when the aircraft takes off. "

Indian media is deeply worried about the appearance of J-20 in Tibet. The report said "J-20 is a twin engine fighter with stealth features which enable it to sometimes go undetected by radar, an enormous advantage in air combat over conventional fighter jets which can be tracked on radar. The supersonic J-20 is thought to have gone into low-rate production this January.

India does not operate any stealth aircraft at present. The Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) being co-developed by Sukhoi is still several years from entering service with the Indian Air Force and the indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) is still not off the drawing boards, said the report. "

Indian media "oversensitive"

Chinese experts who have seen the photo said that the photo was uploaded lately to the Internet and the authenticity and shooting time were not clear. It is said that J-20 will be put into service soon but the China-India border is apparently not the ideal place for its deployment. In addition, the world's highest airport there does not have a complete set of supporting facilities and such shortage will impede the function of J-20.

Experts added that if China is to deploy J-20 targeting India, it will do that only when the maintenance and operation of J-20 in plain bases become mature. J-20 will not be deployed in Daocheng Yading airport as the airport is too close to the border, and it is vulnerable to India's first wave hit. If India is to deploy BrahMos missile on the China-India border, then the Daocheng Yading airport will likely to become its target.

Experts believe that if J-20 really appeared in the Daocheng Yading Airport, it may turn out to be a high altitude performance test to accumulate test data and experience for operations in plateau areas.

The Su-27 and J-10 fighter jets of China all have solved problems of high-altitude operation support. Generally speaking, high-altitude taking off and landing require longer runways and the landing speed is much higher. Thus, the operation and maintenance of high-altitude airport is different compared with that of a plain airport. From this perspective, the Indian media is getting oversensitive to the appearance of J-20 in Tibet.

Indian military frequently mobilizes in border regions

Experts pointed out that for India, China is undoubtedly its largest opponent and therefore every move of the Chinese military will touch the nerve of Indian media. However, the Indian military has more movements than China along the China-India border.

For example, India has deployed mountain combat troops in the border regions. The C-17 and C-130 transport planes imported from the U.S. are taking off and landing in the border areas frequently. The "Heron" unmanned aerial vehicles imported from Israel are deployed along the Sino-Indian border as well. Not long ago, India announced plans to deploy the supersonic BrahMos missile in the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh."

In comparison, Chinese military deployment and movements along the China-India border have always been restraint, experts said. India is not yet the biggest threat for China and though confrontation events along the border would occur from time to time, the overall situation is rather stable.

In this way, China does not put too much emphasis and focus targeting India. Chinese equipment deployment and drills along the border are mostly confirmatory, mainly to gain experience, improve high-altitude combat capability, and form deterrent ability.

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