Amid the ongoing standoff between India and China at Dokalam area, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on last Friday conducted live-fire drills in Tibet Autonomous Region – close to the India’s border in Arunachal – on quick movement of troops and destroying “enemy aircraft”.
According to Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), the 11-hour-long drill was conducted by PLA’s Tibet Military Command at the middle and lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo River (Brahmaputra River). The brigade has long been stationed in the area.
The Tibet Military Command guards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along several sections connecting the mountainous Tibetan region. It is one of China’s two plateau mountain brigades responsible for frontline combat missions.
According to Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times, during the military drills, the Tibet Military Command soldiers used anti-tank grenades and missiles against bunkers and howitzers for artillery coverage. The radar units identified “enemy aircraft” and “enemy soldiers” using anti-aircraft artillery to annihilate targets during the drills.
On 10 July, Tibet’s mobile communication agency had conducted a drill in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Members of the agency practiced setting up a temporary mobile network to secure communications in case of an emergency.
Reports suggest that earlier the PLA units exercised with several modern weapon systems including a new light battle tank being manufactured by China.
Earlier this month, the Chinese Army had carried out a military exercise at 15,000 feet in the Tibet plateau. According to China’s official news agency Xinhua, during the exercise the Chinese soldiers tested new equipment including tanks.
Last month, the Chinese Army had conducted trials of a battle tank in the plains of Tibet.
Apart from these military drills, China has been building dams over Yarlung Zangbo River causing concerns for India as it could affect the flow of at Indian side of Brahmaputra River.
The continual Chinese aggression against India could be linked to India’s economic rise. There are massive influx of foreign investments in the recent times, which has enhanced India’s ability to develop as a manufacturing hub that could rival China.
Admitting India’s economic rise, a recent article in Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times suggested that China should “keep calm” and start working on a more effective growth strategy.
“China should be calm seeing India’s rise. To cope with competition from India, China could start working on a more effective growth strategy for the new era now,” the article said.