(TibetanReview.net, Nov23’21) – China’s live-fire drills in occupied Tibet near the Himalayan border with India, revealed on Nov 21 by state media, showed its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had set up comprehensive training standards specifically designed for high-altitude artillery operations, reported the scmp.com Nov 23, citing military analysts.
“The PLA has introduced precision strike training in Indian border [areas] that aims at controlling more area in future contingencies,” Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Tong has said, adding the operation would save manpower and secure the PLA’s defensive capability along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) during the winter.
“The use of the Type 06 semi-automatic grenade launchers and mortars in the recent drill indicated China would deploy the powerful but handy weapons with precision strike capabilities to other disputed border areas,” he has said.
Footage broadcast by China Central Television (CCTV) was stated to show infantry troops from the Xinjiang military district, part of the Western Theatre Command, conducting precision strike drills at an elevation of 5,200 metres (17,000 feet) in the Karakoram mountains.
A range of conventional weapons were stated to be on display, from sniper rifles to vehicle-mounted remote control weapon systems, mortars, grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles.
The report cited military experts as saying the training indicated the PLA infantries had been equipped with specially designed weapons for high-altitude combat-readiness operations.
Zhou Chenming, a researcher from the Beijing-based Yuan Wang military science and technology institute, has said the PLA’s new weapons systems would be able to eliminate Indian outposts, military assets, and other targets.
The report noted that the precision shooting drill was just the latest high-altitude battle capability training carried out by the PLA near the border areas with India in the Himalayas after the two sides failed to reach agreement to resume talks on disengagement last month.
Citing an insider, the report also noted that before China’s military modernisation – accelerated under President Xi Jinping – there was no firing operations data for many of its weapons systems at elevations over 5,000 meters. But today, live-fire tests supported with electronic combat data are carried out at high altitudes for most new weapons.