India's defense minister visited troops eight kilometers south of the Chinese border in a move intended to emphasize India's border security, a Chinese expert said Monday.
On Sunday Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrived at Thoise, one of the key base camps of the Indian Army along the China-India border, The Asian Age reported. Sitharaman was briefed there on the operational preparedness of army officers.
She then flew to the highest post in Daulat Beg Oldie sector and Chushul along the Sino-Indian border in Ladakh and interacted with troops, the Indian daily newspaper said.
"India's top defense official's visit to such peripheral areas is irregular, and shows India is prioritizing security arrangements along the Sino-Indian border," said Zhang Jiadong, director of the Center of South Asian Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.
Zhang said that India adjusted personnel in its security department after the Doklam standoff. Although China and India both agreed to promote Sino-Indian ties, voices were strong in New Delhi for taking a tough stance against China on border issues, he said.
The sector is located near the easternmost point of the Karakoram Range and is at the extreme end of the Line of Actual Control, the border between India and China, according to the newspaper.
This was Sitharaman's first visit to the sector and to one of the highest posts in Eastern Ladakh, The Asian Age reported, citing an Indian defense ministry spokesman.
"Sitharaman took charge at a time when Indian domestic security professionals considered China the main threat to the country," Zhang said.
China was "showing its evil designs in Tibet after Doklam standoff" by building up a massive air force in Tibet, Indian news site newsnation.in reported on Monday. China deployed 51 fighter jets in Tibet over the last three weeks and raised its fighter assets by 20 percent, according to the report.
"Indian media is making exaggerated reports and stirring up trouble for Sino-Indian ties. They want to pressure India's government to speed up its military power," Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.
It was provocative for Indian media to call the Tibetan military buildup "evil designs," Hu said. "India shouldn't have made irresponsible comments," he said.