China has deployed a long-range strategic H-6K bomber along its border with India amid increasing tensions between the two countries, according to a report by South China Morning Post.
Footage circulated earlier this month by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV shows a brief shot of an H-6K flying over a mountain range. This reportedly indicates that the aircraft had been sent to the Himalayas from its temporary base in the neighboring western Chinese region of Xinjiang.
With a combat range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,174 miles), the bomber is capable of carrying long-range CJ-20 cruise missiles that could be used in attacking land- or sea-based targets. However, the aircraft recently seen approaching the Himalayas is only equipped with short-range KD-63 missiles.
“It’s very easy for the [People’s Liberation Army] to fly H-6Ks to the China-India border because the aircraft are stationed under the Western Theatre Command,” a source told the Hong Kong-based newspaper.
Meanwhile, Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Tong said the deployment of the H-6K along China’s border with India sends a strong warning to the south Asian nation. He pointed out that New Delhi is just within the combat range of the H-6K and the striking range of the CJ-20.
However, military analyst Song Zhongping believes that the bomber will not be used by China to attack civilian areas since it is more focused on Indian airbases, missile launch sites, and other military posts near the border.