Sino-India: After lightweight tanks, China stations new howitzers in Tibet’s border with India

Artillerymen assigned to a brigade with the PLA 76th Group Army fires a PCL-09 122mm truck-mounted self-propelled howitzer during a live-fire training exercise in Tibet. (Photo courtesy: PLA)

(, Jan08’19) – China said Jan 7 that it had further boosted the high-altitude combat capability of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stationed in Tibet by equipping it with new vehicle-mounted howitzers. The equipment was used in an artillery brigade in Tibet during the 2017 China-India stand-off, reported China’s official Jan 7.

The report cited Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, as saying the howitzer had a 52-caliber cannon with a range of over 50 kilometres and could shoot laser-guided and satellite-guided projectiles.

It will boost the high-altitude combat capability of the PLA in Tibet, Song has added.

The report said that as part of military training in 2019, an artillery brigade in the Tibet Military Command had ordered soldiers to take part in a military skills competition at a training ground on the Tibetan Plateau 3,700 metres above sea level.

Video from the China News Service on Jan 6 was reported to show soldiers engaged in military boxing, standstill shooting and firing in motion, as well as assembling guns on the snowfields to improve their attack capability.

The report cited analysts as saying China’s border issue had not been completely resolved, and was challenged by “pro-Tibet independence forces and terrorists”.

The report also said that in Aug 2018, an armored infantry of the Tibet Military Command conducted a drill on a plateau 4,800 metres above sea level.

At the end of last year, China announced that it had begun to equip its border troops with a new lightweight tank, the Type-15, which has better mobility than other tanks used by the PLA and will strengthen combat readiness in plateau regions such as Tibet.

The Dec 29 cited military analysts as saying the tank could be quickly deployed to sensitive regions such as Tibet and the plateau border area if a dispute broke out.

And on Jan 4, China’s official Xinhua news agency cited President Xi Jinping as having ordered the Chinese armed forces to enhance their combat readiness from a new starting point and open new ground for developing a strong military. He was stated to have issued the instruction at a Central Military Commission meeting held in Beijing.


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