Chinese state media has again highlighted a PLA exercise near the Indian border, as tensions continue to simmer between the neighbours.
Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily published a video of the live-fire drill conducted by the People’s Liberation Army in the Himalayas, along with details of the exercise, as state media steps up a propaganda campaign to show China’s military might on the Tibetan Plateau.
It came days after Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a rare visit to Tibet, including a trip to the disputed border with India. The visit was seen by observers as a symbolic gesture after months of friction between the two countries following a deadly border clash in June.
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The latest live-fire drill took place at an altitude of 4,600 metres (15,000 feet) in the middle of the Himalayas, which separate China and its South Asian neighbours – India, Nepal and Bhutan. The report did not give the exact location or say when the drill took place.
“The exercise … tested the coordinated strike capability of multiple units and put new equipment to the test in a combat situation,” it said.
The report detailed how the PLA troops set out at 4am to get into position dozens of kilometres from the starting point while avoiding enemy reconnaissance.
During the exercise, target drones were shot down with surface-to-air missiles. The enemy’s rear command posts, missile launchers and communication hubs were knocked out with guided bombs.
PLA troops also launched saturated artillery fire on the enemy’s frontline positions, bunkers and camps. And a precision missile strike on remaining fortresses was carried out at the end of the drill, according to the report.
The footage showed recently deployed artillery being used in the drill – a vehicle-mounted version of the HJ-10 anti-tank missile system, 155mm and 122mm calibre vehicle-mounted howitzers, and HQ-16 air defence missiles.
Antony Wong Dong, a military expert based in Macau, said the new lightweight artillery was designed for rapid response situations on the Tibetan Plateau.
“They’re making the debut there as a demonstration of power,” he said.
People’s Daily said the drill was “scheduled in the annual training plan” of the PLA’s Tibet Military Region. However, it was just the latest in a recent series of live-fire exercises in the region, where the PLA has sent a large number of troops.
The stand-off between Chinese and Indian border troops has shown little sign of abating, although the two sides have disengaged from the major hotspots along the disputed boundary.
The latest tensions peaked in June when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the worst clash between the two sides in decades, in the disputed Galwan Valley. China has not revealed the number of its casualties.
Additional reporting by Minnie Chan
More from South China Morning Post:
- China border, Pakistan tensions hamper India’s plan to boost local weapons industry
- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Tibet to ‘send message to India’ over border dispute
- China-India border dispute: PLA carries out live-fire artillery drills in the Himalayas
- India moving 35,000 more troops to disputed China border in Himalayas amid heightened tensions
This article China-India border dispute: PLA flexes military muscle with live-fire drill in Tibet first appeared on South China Morning Post