Dokalam standoff: A Chinese state media report today said the country People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has conducted military exercises amid tensions in the Sikkim sector. The exercises were carried out by PLA’s Western Theater Command which covers Tibet, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai, Sichuan and Chongqing, reported Global Times. According to the Chinese state daily, China Central Television reported on Friday that over 10 PLA units, including aviation units and armoured forces, participated in the drills.
In a video, PLA troops were seen firing tanks at targets on the hills and firing missiles on ground target with helicopters.
The China Central Television report didn’t reveal the exact detail of the exercise but claimed the drills “lay the ground for plateau warfare,” reported Global Times.
According to Global Times, China’s Lianhe Zaobao newspapers quoted analysts as saying that the PLA exercises were meant to “strike awe in India”. “Such Chinese PLA military exercises are meant to strike awe in India as the two sides have been engaged in a standoff in Doklam for more than two months, and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which is closest to India, is where the Western Theater Command is most prominent,” the Chinese state media reported.
The latest exercises come after last month’s live-fire drills carried out by the Chinese army in Tibet, near Yarlung Zangbo River located in the upper stream of the Brahmaputra River. The brigade has long been stationed around the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River and is responsible for frontline combat missions. “The drills included the quick arrival of troops and different military units working together on joint attacks,” said Global Times.
According to PTI, “PLA’s Tibet Military Command 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. The drills included the quick arrival of troops and different military units working together on joint attacks.”
Both Chinese and Indian soldiers have been involved in a standoff since mid-June after the former’s army tried to build a road in the area which belongs to Bhutan and is strategically significant for India.
India has appealed for a peaceful solution to the standoff.