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China boosts its Tibet troops’ combat capability with oxygen therapy etc while India reports a new border intrusion

High-pressure oxygen therapy and portable barracks are being introduced to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to boost the People's Liberation Army (PLA) combat capability.  (Photo courtesy: Global Times)
High-pressure oxygen therapy and portable barracks are being introduced to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to boost the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) combat capability. (Photo courtesy: Global Times)

(TibetanReview.net, Aug15, 2018) – China said Aug 13 that it had introduced high-pressure oxygen therapy and portable barracks in Tibet to boost the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) combat capability even as Indian media reports said Chinese troops had intruded 400 meters inside Ladakh along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).

All frontline training troops and border outposts have been equipped with oxygen generators and oxygen cylinders, reported the official globaltimes.cn Aug 14, citing the official PLA website 81.cn Aug 12.

The report also cited the official PLA Daily as saying Aug 13 that Army Medical University’s Xinqiao Hospital in Xigaze, Tibet Autonomous Region, was developing a high-pressure oxygen therapy that could effectively solve altitude stress for troops stationed on the plateau. The improved therapy has proved effective against altitude stress, the 81.cn report was cited as saying.

The report said oxygen stations had been built along border roads for soldiers to recover stamina.

“Altitude stress makes troops have breathing difficulties, results in headaches and insomnia,” the report quoted a former military officer who served in the TAR as saying, without giving his name.

The Tibetan Plateau’s thin air damages combat capability, lowering troops’ strength and durability, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, was cited as saying. Applying oxygen therapy helped soldiers to recover in the harsh conditions and enhanced their combat capabilities, he has added.

The report also said the PLA was improving troops’ quality of life, including with the introduction last year of portable barracks specifically designed for plateau areas at Tibetan military bases. Their design and materials make them sturdy, moisture-proof and cold-resistant, keeping the room temperature at 15 C even in the worst of snow storms, the 81.cn report was cited as saying.

The report cited the former military officer as saying many soldiers and officers suffer frostbite in Tibet, noting the new facilities provide strong logistical support and ensured the troops’ combat capability.

The combined challenge of thin air and low temperatures makes winters in Tibet difficult for troops, the report said.

Meanwhile Indian media reports said Aug 14 that approximately a year after the tense, 73-day Doklam standoff, China had intruded 400 metres inside Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir state along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The intruding PLA troops were stated to have set up five tents inside the Demchok sector of eastern Ladakh. While three were later seen removed, two, with “some Chinese troops in civvies”, were still stated to be standing, reported timesofindia.com Aug 14.

Demchok is one among the 23 ‘disputed and sensitive areas’ identified on the LAC. The other disputed areas in Ladakh are – Trig Heights, Dumchele, Chumar, Spanggur Gap and Pangong Tso, the report said.

The report cited reports as saying over 170 PLA transgressions into India had been recorded this year, compared to 426 throughout last year and 273 in 2017.

During the Doklam standoff, China’s official media had repeatedly called for war to expel the Indian troops from Doklam, which belongs to Bhutan but is claimed by China. India had stepped in to protect the strategically vital Bhutanese territory after Chinese troops began building a road through it to assert its claim.

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