Chinese Army conducts live-fire drills in Tibet

BEIJING: China’s military today said it has conducted live-fire exercises in the remote mountainous Tibet region to test its strike capability on plateaus, amid the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam area in the Sikkim sector.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted the 11-hour long live-fire exercises at an altitude of 5,000 meters on the plateau in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, aimed at improving the combat capability on such locations, the military said.

The exercise was conducted by a ground combat brigade of the PLA Tibet Regional Command this month and involved scenarios such as rapid deployment, multi-unit joint strike and anti-aircraft defence, state-run China Daily quoted a PLA press release as saying.

The exercise effectively tested the brigade’s joint strike capability on plateaus, according to the press release.

The brigade that conducted the drills was from the PLA’s Tibet Military Command and is one of China’s two plateau mountain brigades.

The PLA Tibet command guards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) of the India-China border along several sections connecting the mountainous Tibetan region.

Analysts believe that the drill are an apparent attempt by the military to reassure the Chinese public about the combat readiness of its troops.

“Showing an opponent that you are combat ready is more likely to prevent an actual battle,” Wang Dehua, South Asia studies expert at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said.

Broadcasting the drill on CCTV was also likely designed to keep the public happy, he said.

“It could also reassure the Chinese people that a strong PLA force is there, capable and determined to defend Chinese territory,” Wang told Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

The CCTV report did not disclose the location of the drills but said the brigade responsible for frontline combat missions has long been stationed around the middle and lower reaches of the Brahmaputra (Yarlung Zangbo…

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