(TibetanReview.net, Aug05’21) – China said Aug 4 that the first bulletin train service it started in occupied Tibet on Jul 25 this year, running between capital Lhasa and Nyingtri, located close to the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and claimed by it as southern Tibet, had carried out its first military transport mission. Analysts said the move served as a boost to the capability of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), reported China’s official globaltimes.cn Aug 4.
Citing js7tv.cn Aug 4, a news website affiliated with the PLA, the report said that new recruits at a combined arms brigade affiliated with the PLA Tibet Military Command recently took a Fuxing bullet train on the railway to an exercise field at an elevation of 4,500 meters.
The report called it the first time the Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway, an important part of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, had hosted a troop transport mission, marking another step forward on the systematic development of China’s military transport.
The report cited an unnamed Chinese military expert who had served in Tibet as saying trains were a key means to transport military personnel, equipment and supplies on a large scale, as it could serve to complement road transport, which was slower but could transport more, and air, which was faster but could transport less.
The report cited the expert, a woman, as saying roads to and in Tibet were long and built under challenging environments including complex terrains and high altitude, and traveling such a long distance could cause troops to suffer from fatigue, while aircraft sometimes caused altitude sickness in plateau regions and had limited transport capacity.
The report cited “observers” as saying the military use of the railway was normal national defence development and not related to any ongoing situations, clearly referring to the current border standoff with India.
The report noted that China and India had just wrapped up the 12th round of corps commander level meeting over the border question, and a joint press release from both countries’ defence ministries on Aug 2 said the meeting was constructive and further enhanced mutual understanding.