Representational Image
PC : File Photo

The harsh Ladakhi winter and a status quo on the Line of Actual Control has given ample time to behind the scene propaganda elements to plant news and videos of how without firing a shot territory was won. “Apparently, the brain behind such ‘thoughts’ is living in La La Land and divorced from reality” opines Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd). “The months of June and July had Global Times and its electronic media showing videos and visuals of PLA troops carrying medieval times weapons and shown practising martial arts, including reports of how martial arts instructors had been sent to train ‘greenhorn’ boys of PLA on hard contact battle,” the Indian Army veteran says.

“Direct Energy weapons working on a millimetre wave frequency were developed by Raytheon in early 2000 as a crowd control platform. The millimetre wave directed at crowds causes a burning sensation on the skin at mean sea level and was probably used in the Middle East in the Israeli – Palestine clashes and the stone pelters there,” Lt Col Channan explains.

In an attempt to capture the narrative and build up the morale of its troops, Global Times and its affiliates have used this small piece of information without getting into the details.

According to him, “The troops are on heights which are a rocky terrain and barren. Getting the equipment to the troops in contact is questionable itself and any such attempt would have had an appropriate response. Certainly not tear gas shells, no law is being enforced, but peace with consequences known, as the Indian Army dominates the heights.”

The efficacy of such a system in minus temperatures and troops in extremely cold climate winter clothing, bulletproof jackets, helmets and hardly a skin exposed would have negligible impact.

“Microwaves work well in kitchens and not in a battlefield environment at 18,000 feet and above, the PLA needs to do much more to keep the morale of its troops high, this narrative is definitely not helping them, for sure. Mr Xi Jinping needs to pull out a rabbit from a hat to remain relevant as the global scenario changes with the end of 2020,” he concludes.

What exactly are Microwave Weapons?

As explained above, these are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons (DEW).

And aim energy in the form of microwaves, laser or sonic at a target.

These high-frequency electromagnetic radiations heat the water in the human body and cause discomfort and pain.

Is this based on the home appliance used in every kitchen?

Yes. The food which is heated in the Microwave at home and has high water content cooks faster in comparison to the dry foods.

Why?

Because the microwaves (electromagnetic waves) when touches the food through vibration produces heat that cooks the food.

Does any other country have these weapons?

Yes.

A number of countries are thought to have developed these weapons to target both humans and electronic systems but they have never been used in a conflict against conventional troops till date. Besides human bodies, these are also used in hitting the electronic systems.

According to the US Department of Defense under the FAQ, it says that a prototype microwave style weapon has been developed. “This is called the Active Denial System.’’

It has an extended range which is greater than the currently fielded non-lethal weapons. And they are directed-energy, and counter-personnel system.

Media reports indicate that at an air show in 2014, China had first put on display its “microwave weapon”, called Poly WB-1.

While the US had deployed such a weapon in Afghanistan, it was withdrawn later without using it on human beings.

Interestingly, in 2017 reports appearing in the public domain indicate that in 2016, perhaps the US Embassy employees in Cuba could have been targeted with covert sonic weapons.

Similar complaints were made of a similar attack by the US Consulate employees in Guangzhou, China, possibly in 2017.

What were their symptoms?

Around 21 US embassy employees from Cuba and China had complained about strange and disturbing vibrations in their hotels or residences, and the grating sounds as well as sudden pressure changes.

They had reported severe headaches, hearing loss, sleep-related problems, dizziness, and fatigue – now known as `Havana Syndrome.’ After their medical examination, neither the FBI nor the US State Department cited “microwave weapons” as being the cause of the “syndrome”.

Are these weapons dangerous?

Apparently no!

Based on the information available under the US Department of State FAQ: “The Active Denial System does not cause cancer or infertility.”

Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, Maj Gen Jagatbir Singh (retd), says, “The reports in the papers alleging that China has used these weapons to evict our troops from the heights on the Southern banks of the Pangong Tso are baseless and have rightly been dismissed by the ADGPI. There has been no evidence given to support this claim that was initially made in some foreign news outlets and it seems merely to be part of an ongoing propaganda narrative. These are highly sophisticated weapons which were supposed to be carried by US troops to Afghanistan but were never used and were withdrawn due to fears of political backlash. The US equivalent; ‘heat ray’ Active Denial System is reported to have been developed in 2007. On the contrary, China has resorted to primitive stone age weapons such as sticks, stones and clubs when they clashed with our troops.”

According to Maj Gen Singh, “ If the fact that China has used these weapons to dislodge our troops from the Southern bank of Panging Tso is true, how is it that this issue of withdrawal from this area is still forming a major agenda for discussion between the two countries in the ongoing talks?”

“Jim Canrog an international studies expert, who reported their use, has said these unethical weapons were used as protocols prevent using conventional weapons. It is strange that a Chinese professor at Renmin University, Beijing claim without any corroboration or acknowledgement from any authoritative source has been published and is being accepted. He said the hilltops were turned into a microwave oven, which caused vomiting and forced our soldiers to retreat. This couldn’t be further from reality as after the bloody clash on the night of 15 June, China was no longer adhering to any laid down rules of engagement and it is impossible to even imagine that our troops sent to occupy heights on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso was unarmed,” he opines.

In conclusion the former Maj Gen says, “ What is even more surprising is how reputed international newspapers can publish such fake claims without checking how the Professor got access to this information. We need to be wary of such misleading and baseless claims made by an adversary which are not supported by any evidence and has a larger aim of lowering our morale and instilling fear our minds.”