China using satellite phones to spy on Indian security forces in Ladakh | World Defense

China using satellite phones to spy on Indian security forces in Ladakh


Dec 18, 2017
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China using satellite phones to spy on Indian security forces in Ladakh


After the diplomatic defeat in Doklam, China is on a 'spying mission' in the military encampment of Demchok in Leh. The village has been the site of frequent stand-offs between the Indian Army and the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Ahead of the 20th round of India-China border talks between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi in New Delhi this week, intelligence sources told India Today that Beijing is using three Thuraya satellite phones, banned in India, to gather information about the Indian security apparatus in Ladakh.

The satphones were found active around 35 km northwest of Demchok from 3.45 pm to 3.41 pm on November 15, the sources said. While one of the satphones was in contact with three Chinese numbers, another Thuraya contacted 13989****05, which too was active in China, the intelligence sources added. Security agencies in Ladakh are on high alert after the revelation.

Though the three phones were active several times in Tibet and once inside Arunachal Pradesh in 2015, 2016 and even this year, they were not operational in Demchok, the sources further added. According to Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir, it is not uncommon for neighbouring countries to spy on India. "Therefore, the Defence Ministry works in tandem with security and intelligence agencies to foil spying attempts. We won't let such spying missions succeed," he told India Today.

On the border talks with China, Ahir said, "NSA-level talks are routine to maintain relations with neighbouring countries. Such dialogues will continue."

Security expert and Major General (Retd.) GD Bakshi told India Today that China has been consolidating its military after President Xi Jinping became more powerful. General Bakshi too mentioned the satphone 'spying' incident. "Chinese troops are still in Doklam; India should not be complacent. China may intrude into some other sector and even Doklam to build pressure on India," he said.

General Bakshi suggested that India should strongly raise its concerns at the NSA-level talks without being dominated by the Chinese side. "Otherwise, China will continue with its domineering attitude."