(TibetanReview.net, Aug22, 2017) – China said Aug 20 that the Western Theater Command of its People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) had conducted military exercises amid tensions in Doklam from a standoff with “trespassing Indian troops”. The Western Theater Command, noted the official globaltimes.cn Aug 20, covers Tibet, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai, Sichuan and Chongqing.
Citing an official China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast Aug 18, the report said more than 10 PLA units, including aviation units and armored forces, participated in the drills. The five-minute-long video was reported to have shown tanks firing at targets on hills, followed by helicopters firing missiles at ground targets. While the report did not mention the location of the exercises, it indicated that the Indian troops at the Doklam Plateau were clearly the objective, for it said the drills “lay the ground for plateau warfare.”
In particular, the report cited the Lianhe Zaobao newspaper of Aug 17 as having quoted analysts as saying such Chinese PLA military exercises were meant to “strike awe in India,” as the two sides had been engaged in a standoff in Doklam for more than two months.
The report noted that in July, one of PLA’s two plateau mountain brigades had conducted live-fire drills in Tibet. The drills included the quick arrival of troops and different military units working together on joint attacks. This was shown on CCTV on Jul 14. The report said the brigade had long been stationed around the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River and was responsible for frontline combat missions.
Also, in the first week of August, CCTV played a video it said showed an army unit in an unidentified part of Tibet carrying out live-fire firing exercises, reported the AP Aug 20.