Propaganda at work: Analysis of a fake microwave oven in Ladakh - The Daily Guardian
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Propaganda at work: Analysis of a fake microwave oven in Ladakh

A Chinese professor claimed that PLA troops had turned two strategic hilltops occupied by Indian soldiers ‘into a microwave oven’, forcing them to retreat. This entire episode is a fake effort. It was probably tailored to spin a positive yarn to domestic audiences through foreign media.




The Chinese Claim

Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University, claimed that China had used a “microwave weapon” to retake land that had been occupied by the Indian Army on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso. He claimed that Chinese forces had turned two strategic hilltops occupied by Indian soldiers “into a microwave oven”, forcing them to retreat, and allowing the positions to be retaken without an exchange of conventional fire. “Within 15 minutes of the weapons being deployed, those occupying the hilltops all began to vomit. They couldn’t stand up, so they fled. This was how we retook the ground,” the professor (does he really exist?) reportedly told his students during a lecture. This report was filed by The Times in the UK and in The Australian. The Indian Army has rejected this report as fake. The matter should have ended there. 

Inquiries However, I got inquiries from good and concerned people whether this news was correct and whether the Army was rejecting it as a matter of  routine. They were worried about the welfare of our troops. So I did my digging in and found that the whole report to be as fake as the Chinese. Now by merely saying that the report is fake won’t do. I will prove it so. So let us start at the basics.

Dews The Armed forces have been actively and constantly pursuing non-kinetic weapons systems known as Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs). DEWs could be based on lasers, particle beams or microwaves. These weapons are devices which deposit requisite energy on targets to achieve a given level of damage. Alternatively, every target needs a certain level of energy transfer over a period of time to be damaged. Hence the DEW must produce much more energy at source, since a significant amount is lost in propagation. They tend to be bulky and need large power generators.  The first thing one must understand is that DEWs are not hand held systems.


This story is all about microwave weapons and henceforth I shall stick to them. Microwaves are  a type of electromagnetic radiation, having a much longer wavelength and much lower frequency than light. Like all electromagnetic radiation, microwaves travel at the speed of light.  Microwave frequencies lie in the range 0.1–100 GHz, and the associated wavelengths lie in the range 100–0.1 cm.  Oxygen and water vapor can absorb radiation in the microwave region. Liquid water interacts well with microwaves. The interaction between microwaves and water is employed in microwave ovens. Since water is a major constituent of organic matter, microwaves are absorbed in foods placed in the oven and heat them. Yet they are not absorbed in ceramic dishes, which don’t contain water. In this way, the food is heated while the dish itself remains cool. Microwaves are emitted from a directional antenna. Microwaves  travel along  line of sight. If the object is directly not visible, it is not affected. Due to the large wavelength of microwaves, they spread much more than light for given aperture sizes. It means that their effective ranges are limited. Rain and water vapor restricts microwave propagation. If a laser beam is like a bullet shot from a rifle, a microwave beam is more like the shot from a shotgun. Through divergence, the energy spreads with distance, and the effective range is less. Microwaves are unsuited for the precision destruction of threatening targets. Rather, they are ideal for an array of targets, hoping that most will receive a dose of energy sufficient to exploit internal vulnerabilities and result in target negation even at intensities below that required for physical destruction. Microwave based DEWs are generally best suited for soft targets having built-in vulnerabilities which microwaves can exploit. Their best potential use is against electronics.

Microwave DEWs in Service

The  Active Denial System (ADS), is a non-lethal DEW developed by Raytheon in 2004 for the US military. It is designed for area denial, perimeter security and crowd control. It works on microwaves being directed at targets which heat their surface, such as the skin of targeted human beings. The microwaves incite movement in the fat and water molecules located just below the human skin surface, making the target feel like they are burning from the inside. As soon as the target steps away from the ray, the pain ceases, purportedly leaving no damage to nerve endings and blood vessels, which are located deeper below the epidermis. The ADS was deployed in 2010 with the United States military in Afghanistan, but was not used in combat.  In 2010, it was evaluated by the Los Angeles Police Department for prisoner control. As of 2014, the ADS was only a vehicle-mounted weapon, though U.S. Marines and police were both working on portable versions.  The system can be seen on the YouTube links @ https://www. youtube. com/watch?v= kzG4oEutPbA and https:// watch?v=u9p5naCkz2w.  The Chinese have a similar system called Poly WB-1. It  is a non-lethal microwave projector that can be used for crowd dispersal, by making its targets feel like their skin is on fire. The  WB-1, presented at the Airshow China 2014 in Zhuhai in November 2014, had a range of about 80 meters, though it can be expanded to 1 Km. However achieving ranges of 1 Km means considerable extra power. Extra power is always at a premium in High Altitudes. The system can be seen on the You Tube @ mcafee&p=Poly+WB-1+you+ tube#id=1&vid=74bb32e6867 50948e2452890c8a97466&a ction=click


If you have seen the videos you will realise that any microwave system is based on a huge truck/platform and needs a large amount of power(200 KW). It has a huge silhouette and outline which is unmistakable. It has limited ranges and a limited beam width. To be effective, the system has to be quite close to the target. Most importantly the DEWs are non-lethal with only momentary effect. The effect fades the moment you are out of the direct line of the microwave beam.  If the Microwave weapon produced such drastic results (as claimed),  that troops occupying two hill tops fled, then there are two companies involved. Then at 100 least casualties–with symptoms of severe vomiting and burning – would have come to light. My authentic sources- operational and medical — report no such casualties. 

Secondly, our troops would have reported having seen an ungainly vehicle closing in. No such vehicle was sighted. Very importantly, the vehicle needs a road to come as close as 100m of own positions. All hill tops occupied by us would have access through an op track which would have been barricaded at the first instance. Hence the story fails here. However let us take it forward. Any two hill tops are at least a few Km apart. If the claim is true, the Chinese would have had to use more than one DEW. In which case they would have made a great show of it. More over if two hill tops were vacated, the Chinese would have been all over the town and media as to how Indian Troops (scared of the ten feet tall Chinese) had decamped seeing the might of PLA! 

The Microwave DEW is a line of sight weapon with limited range and beam width of a human being (at best). It would have to be aimed and fired from a lower height towards men at higher heights and defiladed to the line of fire. No way these chaps at heights can be hit. If the effect was as claimed, each man had to be targeted steadily for at least 15 minutes. If you step out of line, you are safe. Logically, if a man senses danger in combat, he hits the ground! The moment he does that he is safe from the ‘Chinese Microwave’. This whole affair looks like a bedtime story when you are travelling on the silk route and gazing at the stars above. Impossible to execute unless you are high on cannabis. There is no way this weapon can target 200 men on a hilltop together except in the drunken haze of Shanghai Waterfront bars after six drinks. Also the men on hill tops would be tactically deployed and spread. Surely they were not waiting all bunched up together to be microwaved by the great Chinese Wonder Weapons! 

Also think. The heights involved are 4000-5000 m. The hill tops would have been awfully cold. We all know that all machines underperform by about 30-40 % at such altitudes. This Chinese vehicle portable microwave oven is no exception. My guess is that even if our men had been targeted by Jin Canarong’s imaginary Chinese Nobel Prize winning vision, it would have only served to warm them. They were otherwise freezing with cold. ‘Good Open Air Heater’. 

Very importantly, the claim is that this entire Microwave episode took place in the last week of Aug. However after that the Chinese and PLA have gone all over town cribbing that India should vacate the South Pangong Tso Heights otherwise they will attack us. Which they have not had the guts to do till date. On the other hand India has gone and occupied more heights above Finger 4 in Sep. If the ‘microwave theory’ is true and good, then it should have imposed caution on us and we should not have expanded to occupy other heights.

Current Status

As of now, India is occupying all the features as I had explained in my Sino- Indian Logjam series @   https:// 2020/11/ sino-indian-logamchinese-three-card.html. No one has vacated anything. This entire episode is a fake effort. It was probably tailored to spin a positive yarn to domestic audiences through foreign media. That is why it was released in the UK and Australia. The Chinese will now doctor even those reports to tell domestic audiences that the foreign media has reported that the great Chinese war machinery has microwaved India!  The Chinese desperation tells a story and a morale: Do not vacate Kailash range at any cost. All this is a ploy.

Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog

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The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge like the use of drones and social media by adversaries to safeguard the country, said Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das. Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in J&K is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.

Talking about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, he said, “Our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations. My young soldiers, who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country, will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. They have ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others.” Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.” Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the LoC and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures has been introduced. “On Army Day on 15 January, our chief took the threat seriously and our soldiers are being prepared to deal with the challenge in a better way.” During recruitment training, Lt Gen Das said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges. He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic and orientation courses.

On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of J&K, Lt Gen Das said, “The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation, the youth live like a family and there is complete communal harmony.” He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment. Asked about his message to the misguided youth, he said, “J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream.”

He added, “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army who are former militants but have become upright soldiers.” Lt Gen Das said the Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination and the situation in J&K is getting better and the “day is not far when this region will make our country proud.”

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The Southern Naval Command observed International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday with a focus on mangrove plantation and clearance of plastic/non-biodegradable waste along with waterfront areas in and around Kochi, said a press release from the Ministry of Defence.

Pursuant to the global campaign of keeping coastlines clean, more than 600 Naval personnel and the families of Southern Naval Command undertook clearance of plastic and non-biodegradable waste at different locations spread across the city, coastal areas such as Fort Kochi beach, Thevara waterfront, Willingdon Island, Cherai beach, Bolgatty and around 2 km stretch of the Venduruthy channel while restoring around 1 lakh sqm of mangroves to the pristine condition. In addition, 80 mangrove saplings were also planted along the Venduruthy channel. Similar coastal cleanup drives and lectures/webinars/competitions emphasising protection of the coastal and marine environment were undertaken with the enthusiastic participation of the Naval community at other outstation Naval units located at Lonavala, Jamnagar, Chilka, Coimbatore, Goa, Ezhimala and Mumbai.

Being the Training Command of the Indian Navy, the Southern Naval Command has always been at the vanguard in promoting environmental conservation activities both at the Command Headquarters, Kochi as well as at Naval stations spread across the country.

Mandated to oversee naval training, the Southern Naval Command has conceptualised and implemented a variety of green initiatives. Keeping environmental preservation as one of the Key Result Areas, the Command has constantly endeavoured to motivate young officer and sailor trainees of the Indian Navy to imbibe the habit of protecting mother nature as part of their grooming efforts in preparing them to become responsible future Naval leaders and dependable citizens of India.

Particular attention has also been given to create more awareness among the families and more importantly the children.

During the last three years, the Command has adopted a multi-dimensional approach towards conservation of the environment and implementation of energy conservation methods.

To highlight a few, the personnel of the Command were actively involved in the rejuvenation of 4.5-km-long Venduruthy Channel near Kochi Naval base, creating awareness in and around Naval establishments.

Efforts were undertaken to enhance green cover by conducting mass plantation drives which included planting more than 75,000 trees, using the fast-growing Miyawaki forestation method. In addition, regular coastal clean-up drives, mangrove plantation drives, in-house handling and recycling of bio and non-biodegradable waste, adopting efficient energy and water-saving methods etc were also undertaken. The Command has also earnestly endeavoured to continue all the efforts for protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources. Towards achieving the same, the Command has implemented a Green Initiative and Environment Conservation Roadmap with a prime focus on Carbon footprint reduction.

With the personal involvement of Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command is committed to creating a clean, green and healthy environment in line with the visionary environment conservation policies of the Govt of India. On the occasion, Adv M Anilkumar, Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation and staff also participated in Kochi.

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An air show will be held here on 26 September where IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga and Suryakiran Aerobatic and Display Team and paramotor flying will manoeuvre the skies over the famous Dal Lake, officials informed on Saturday.

The air show will be organised by the Air Force Station Srinagar and the Jammu and Kashmir administration as part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, they said. The main aim of the exercise—under the theme ‘Give Wings to Your Dream’—is to motivate the youth of the valley to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and to promote tourism in the region, the officials said.

The event will be flagged off Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) overlooking Dal Lake.

More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF, which will motivate them to dream about a career in the force and in the aviation sector, the officials said. “The show will also develop passion among the students to give wings to their dreams. Along with the students, 700 teachers will also be present at the venue,” they added.

During the demonstration, students will also be familiarised with the new technological advancements achieved and incorporated by the IAF while flying aircraft in the sky over the world-famous Dal Lake, the officials said. Stalls will be established at SKICC where students will be familiarised with the achievements of the Air Force, employment opportunities in the IAF, recruitment rules and eligibility criteria, they added.

Srinagar-based PRO Defence Col Emron Musavi said the display will include flypast by various aircraft of the IAF. The spectators would also get to witness paramotor flying and IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga in action. ‘Ambassadors of IAF’, Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team, will be performing in the valley after a gap of 14 years, he said. Col Musavi said the symphony orchestra of the IAF would also be performing at the event. The event would also consist of a photo exhibition depicting the history of the

IAF, he said. 

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JAIPUR : South Western Command of the Indian Army on Saturday organised an exhibition showcasing defence equipment at Chitrakoot Stadium in Jaipur to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

Speaking to ANI, an Indian army official said, “We have displayed the defence equipment in this exhibition to make people aware of the Indian army achievements. We want to motivate the youth by showcasing these types of equipment.” “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these events had been started to make people aware of Indian Arm Forces. So, we are also continuing the move by organising these kinds of events,” he added.

Further, he said that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war is memorable for all the Indians, so, every citizen should be aware of this war.  

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BRO makes history, appoints woman Army officer in-charge of road construction unit



The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has appointed a woman Army officer for the first as the Officer Commanding of its 75 road construction company (RCC) in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The three platoon commanders under Major Aaina, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K became the first women RCC. The appointments were made on August 30.

BRO on Sunday recalled the list of women officers who were assigned higher leadership roles in the organisation in the current year.

According to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry, BRO has inducted a large number of women into its workforce over the years, right from officers to the level of commercial pilot license holders. “In this regard, a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) officer EE (Civ) Vaishali S Hiwase took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company on April 28, employed on an important Indo-China road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam, in an area full of adversity and challenges. The lady officer has taken control and is leading the charge with meticulous execution of her tasks,” the statement said.

“The BRO created history again on 30 August when Major Aaina of Project Shivalik took charged as Officer Commanding, 75 Road Construction Companies (RCC) at Pipalkoti in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. She is the first Indian Army Engineer Officer to command a road construction company. Not only this, all three platoon commanders under her, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K are lady officers and they have together created a first-ever women RCC. The Border Roads plans to make four such all women-led RCCs, two each in North Eastern and Western Sectors.”

As India celebrates 75 Years of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it also celebrates the ongoing efforts of our Nation towards women empowerment. Women today have started assuming their rightful, equal place as the frontrunners in nation-building and representatives of our strong national character, the statement read.

Over the last six decades, in a graduated and steady manner, the BRO has increased the number of women employed in various roles and duties of road construction. A consolidated effort is being made to empower them by giving them authority and responsibilities to undertake work independently. These women have become symbols of Nari Shakti in their respective areas.

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In his first visit abroad after taking over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat will be visiting Russia and the US.

Rawat took over his new office as CDS on 31 December 2019, and since then has been declining foreign invitations for focusing on the new assignment of integrating the defence forces as a combined fighting force. “There is a conference of the CDS-rank officers of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement member countries. China and Pakistan are also part of this grouping,” senior defence officials said.

The CDS conference would be focusing on addressing the regional security issues and Afghanistan is also likely to come up for discussion, they said.

The CDS would also witness the activities of the respective armed forces taking part in the SCO peace mission drills being held in Russia. Indian Army and Air Force are also taking part in the exercise there.

The visit will take place in the coming week and soon after return from Russia, Rawat would be leaving for the US for meeting his counterpart and other American military leadership at the Pentagon.

The two countries have been coming closer militarily in the last few years and have been holding multiple military exercises and hardware cooperation.

The Indian military saw a major change in senior-level structures under the Narendra Modi government as the focus is now on the theatrisation of the fighting forces and bringing in more capabilities and jointness among the three services. 

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