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'No need for China to spy on India using balloons'

Global Times | Published: June 19, 2019 16:38:42 | Updated: June 20, 2019 11:35:51


China does not need to use balloons to gather intelligence on India, and if balloons have indeed been deployed along the borders of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, as Indian media reported, they are likely only for China's own border protection or civil purposes, Chinese military experts said Wednesday.

Surveillance devices launched on balloons have limited abilities, so China would not use such a method to see across the border, Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Satellites nowadays provide clear images on the ground, making balloons unnecessary, Li noted.

Li's remarks are in response to a Tuesday report by Indian media outlet The Print, which claimed that China "is using high-tech balloons to spy on India from Tibet."

India is overreacting and being too sensitive, Chinese military observers said.

Doubting the report is true, Li nonetheless said even if China has launched balloons in Tibet, they would be intended for China's own border safety.

Patrolling the border in high altitude areas like Tibet manually could be challenging, and that could be why balloons might be used, Li noted.

Such balloons could also be used for civil purposes, like telecommunication relays or weather monitoring, analysts said.

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