The Chinese military used microwave weapons against Indian soldiers to retreat during the border standoff in eastern Ladakh, British daily The Times reported on Tuesday, citing a Beijing-based professor, with little corroboration or acknowledgment from any authoritative sources.

Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at the Beijing-based Renmin University, claimed during a lecture that Chinese troops turned two strategic hilltops “into a microwave oven”, forcing Indian soldiers to retreat. These positions were “retaken” by Chinese soldiers without an exchange of fire, the professor added, according to The Times.

The Times offered no details about how Jin might have access to this information, which, if true, would represent a major change in engagement between Indian and Chinese soldiers.

However, all these claims made by Canrong is false as the Indian government on Tuesday night dismissed the report. “Some international news portals have published misleading headlines and reported baseless claims related to India-China border stand-off in Ladakh,” the Press Information Bureau tweeted. “This claims is fake, ADGPI [Additional Directorate General of Public Information] has clarified that no such incident has taken place. Beware of such misinformation.”

What are microwave weapons?

During the Cold War, the United States was concerned that Russia was attempting to convert microwave radiation into weapons of mind control. The US military has also attempted to develop such weapons that are able to beam painfully loud booms and even spoken words into people’s heads, according to a 2018 report in The New York Times. This weaponry aims to disable attackers and conduct psychological warfare.

India and China are in midst of a border stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in the eastern Ladakh region since May 2020. On the intervening night of June 15 and 16, as many as 20 Indian soldiers were killed by China’s PLA in the Galwan Valley. There were casualties on the Chinese side too but the Chinese government never released an official figure on the same. Since then several rounds of military-level talks have taken place between the two countries, but de-escalation is yet to take place.

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