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Report: U.S. Intel Helped India Defeat China in December Border Clash

U.S. News and World Report on Monday quoted sources who said the U.S. military provided India with intelligence that helped it repel a Chinese incursion in the Himalayas in late 2022.

The intel helped India shift its forces along the border to push the Chinese back without loss of life, unlike a similar incursion in June 2020 that ended with dozens of fatalities on both sides.

According to U.S. News, the American military gave India “real-time details” of “Chinese positions and force strength” in the Arunachal Pradesh region, including satellite photos. The intel was “more detailed and delivered more quickly than anything the U.S. had previously shared with the Indian military,” the report noted.

American military analysts were clued into China’s intentions by watching the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conduct the sort of exercises it generally runs through before making one of its periodic attempts to grab Indian land.

U.S. News quoted intelligence assessments that said the Chinese were angered by recent U.S.-Indian military exercises and might have felt the urge to make another push along the border in response. In fact, some analysts thought the U.S. exercises and attendant ceremonial events — including a high-altitude rock concert — were “designed to annoy the Chinese” and provoke precisely the response that occurred.

Thanks to the intel India received from the United States, Chinese troops found an overwhelming Indian defensive line waiting for them when they pushed into Arunachal Pradesh. A brawl still took place — both sides generally eschew firearms in such confrontations to avoid escalation, so the combatants largely employed sticks, stones, and tasers — but there were no known fatalities.

U.S. News archly noted that the clearest sign this particular skirmish did not go China’s way was that Chinese state media and public officials “have remained fairly quiet about the embarrassing encounter.”

“[The Indians] were waiting. And that’s because the U.S. had given India everything to be fully prepared for this. It demonstrates a test case of the success of how the two militaries are now cooperating and sharing intelligence,” the source said.

U.S. News spoke to “several current and former analysts and officials” who confirmed the substance of the report, although none were willing to go on the record. All concurred with the notion that America’s military cooperation with India has grown considerably tighter as the threat posed by China increased.

The White House on Monday refused to confirm or deny the U.S. News report.

 

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