By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 19: China’s military in Tibet held a “rare multidimensional armed forces’ exercise” this month amid the ongoing border friction along India’s Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. The military exercise involved both the ground assault forces as well as People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aviation unit, which deployed helicopters for the drill. China’s official military media PLA Daily stated that “land and air force join hands in three-dimensional assault” at a “certain place” on the Tibetan plateau.
The Tibet military region comes under PLA Western Theatre Command (WTC), which covers China’s border with India. The report remarked that it was held to improve combat capabilities, “It is understood that in the past, except for the annual comprehensive exercises, the brigade training was mostly ‘single combat’. How to enable commanders at all levels to find the right time and rhythm during joint operations and to improve the combat effectiveness of the system is an urgent issue to be solved.”
The brigade leaders were quoted as saying that they focused on summarising past problems and hoped that the training goes from ‘year-end reunion’ to ‘meeting-everyday’. It added that the joint training exposed the shortcomings and weaknesses of the ground military. The elaborate exercise is being held in the backdrop of the longest military standoff that started last May in eastern Ladakh.
Diplomatic measures between the two sides seemed to have stalled despite several rounds of talks, since the last meeting held a month ago on Dec. 18. Chinese media report indicated its war preparedness along the LAC as Central Military Commission (CMC) headed by Xi Jinping improves logistics and deployment of troops at the border.