Reading Time: 3 minutes
On Tuesday, British daily The Times reported that China’s military used microwave weapons to force Indian troops to retreat during a months-long border standoff in the Himalayas, according to an account that has emerged in Beijing.
The Chinese military had converted two strategic hilltops that had been occupied by Indian soldiers ‘into a microwave oven’, forcing them to pull out. The action allowed the positions to be retaken without an exchange of conventional fire, according to Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Beijing-based Renmin University.
In a lecture, Jin claimed that the People’s Liberation Army “beautifully” seized the ground without violating the rules of engagement in the high-altitude standoff between the two Asian powers, The Times reported.
Microwave weapons focus high-frequency electro-magnetic pulses or beams at targets and cause irritation and pain by heating up any human tissue in its way.
“We didn’t publicise it because we solved the problem beautifully,” Mr Jin said, according to the British newspaper. “They [India] didn’t publicise it, either, because they lost so miserably.”
The professor stated that Chinese troops fired the weapon from the bottom of the hills and “turned the mountain tops into a microwave oven”.
“In 15 minutes, those occupying the hilltops all began to vomit,” he said. “They couldn’t stand up, so they fled. This was how we retook the ground.”
Indian news site Scroll‘s latest report suggests that Indian government dismissed reports that the Chinese military had used microwave weapons in the standoff at the border, forcing a retreat.
Some international news portals have published misleading headlines and reported baseless claims related to India-China border stand-off in Ladakh. #PIBFactCheck: This claim is #Fake. @adgpi has clarified that no such incident has taken place. Beware of such #misinformation. pic.twitter.com/EoH4CH3X13
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) November 17, 2020
In his lecture, Professor Jin said that India mounted a surprise attack on August 29 when it deployed a team of Tibetan soldiers, known for their mountaineering skills, to seize two critical hilltops on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake, The Times reported.
“At the time, the western theatre command [of the People’s Liberation Army] was under huge pressure,” the scholar said. “These two hilltops are very important but we’d lost them.
“The central military commission was quite furious, ‘How could you be so careless as to let India seize the hilltops?’, so it ordered the ground be taken back, but it also demanded that no single shot be fired.”
According to the British newspaper, Professor Jin added it was almost impossible for the Chinese soldiers, most of whom were from the lowlands, to wage any effective combat at an altitude of 5,600 metres. “Frankly speaking . . their bodies won’t stand it.
“Then they came up with the clever idea to use microwave weapons.”
In recent years, as the United States increasingly researched radio-frequency/ electromagnetic pulse weapons, microwave weapons began gaining popularity. The weapons use high-energy electromagnetic radiation to attack targets, to destroy electronics and missile guidance systems or to harm humans. This may be the first use against hostile troops.
It is suspected that microwave weapons were used in an attack against American diplomats and their families in 2018 in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
These weapons could also possibly be responsible for the symptoms described by US and Canadian diplomats posted to Havana from 2016.
A majority of people exposed to microwave radiation report significant discomfort but no permanent ill-effects. However, some studies suggest that long-term exposure may have a carcinogenic effect.
The on-going border dispute in the Ladakh region between the two sides began in April, which resulted in bloodshed in the Galwan River valley in June that killed 20 Indian troops and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers.
The two countries have shown negligible disengagement despite many rounds of diplomacy. Both are strengthening their positions while abiding by the no-live-shot rule to refrain from serious military escalation and a devastating repeat of the Sino-Indian War of 1962.