China deploys HQ-9 air defense missile systems at the border of northeastern Indian state of Sikkim

According to information published by the Forbes website on September 2, 2020, open sources satellite images showed that China may have deployed HQ-9 air defense missile systems in the Chumbi valley of Tibet, on the border with the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim and the independent kingdom of Bhutan.
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Chinese army HQ-9 air defense missile system. (Picture source Chinese Internet)

Citing information published by the Indian website "The Print" on August 2020, the Chinese military is reportedly constructing a surface-to-air missile site as well as other infrastructure on the banks of the Mansarovar Lake in the India-Nepal-China tri-junction area near the Lipulekh pass.

The 2020 China–India skirmishes are part of an ongoing military standoff between China and India. Since 5 May 2020, Chinese and Indian troops have engaged in aggressive melee, face-offs and skirmishes at locations along the Sino-Indian border, including near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, and near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region. Additional clashes also took place at locations in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In May 2020, 15 to 20 Indian soldiers were involved in hand-to-hand fighting with Chinese soldiers at a high altitude picket in north Sikkim. Since May 2020, Chinese and Indian armed forces continue to deploy military equipment including combat vehicles and air defense missile systems to the Sino-Indian border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The HQ-9 is a medium-to-long range air defense missile system designed and manufactured in China by the Defense Company CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation). The HQ-9 system is designed to track and destroy aircraft, cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles.

The HongQi 9 (HQ-9) uses a two-stage missile. The first stage has a diameter of 700 mm and the 2nd stage 560 mm, with a total mass of almost 2 tons and a length of 6.8m. The missile is armed with a 180 kg warhead, has a maximum speed of Mach 4.2. and has a maximum range of 200 km up to an altitude of 30 km.