By Tenzin Dharpo
A GJ-2 drone on display at the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow. Photo- Xinhua
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 7: China has deployed military grade drones capable of carrying high tech weapons near the border regions of occupied Tibet and Xinjiang region in a bid to monitor mountainous terrains and arid regions where stationing and patrolling of troops are difficult.
Chinese state run Global Times
reported the deployment of GJ-2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) last month which experts say is China’s answer to the United States Air Force’s stalwart, MQ-9 Reaper drones.
The GJ-2 is said to be capable of carrying out long endurance airborne missions for up to 20 hours and can cruise at a top speed of 370km/h while at an altitude of 9,000 meters. The Chinese drone is equipped with reconnaissance system, including a synthetic aperture radar as well as an electro-optical pod for anti-jamming and battlefield communication and can carry up to 12 air-to-surface missiles for aggressive missions.
China’s first “hunter-killer” drone MQ-9 will patrol and if necessary carry out offensive ground instructions over the airspace near the indo-Tibetan border and Xinjiang-Pakistan border.
The deployment of the new technology also means that Tibetans fleeing into exile for Nepal and India will be met with further surveillance by Chinese border police and military heavy-handedness.
The Chinese government is pushing for joint security patrols along the Nepal-China border points to further choke the route for Tibetan refugees who seek to cross into freedom from Chinese rule. In September 30, 2006 Western climbers shot a video of Chinese border police firing at Tibetans crossing into Nepal, killing a Tibetan nun.
Increasingly militarised borders and strict deportation practices, among other factors, have meant that the number of Tibetans crossing into exile has dwindled drastically over the years.
According to a source who wishes to remain anonymous, less than 50 Tibetans crossed into exile and reached Dharamshala, the exile seat of the Tibetan government in exile in the year 2017.