By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, JAN 6: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has begun military training across Lhasa as the New Year commenced. The major military exercises in Tibet bordering India showcases its grandeur by deploying latest weapons including the Type 15 battle tank and the new 155-MM vehicle mounted howitzer, reports The Hindu. PLA Tibet Military Command also deployed “helicopters, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery and anti-aircraft missiles” across the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, to the border frontlines, reports China Central Television (CCTV).
India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) covers 3,488 km including the border along Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim where the sensitivities of these areas are well known. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet. Their deployment in the Tibet Military Command will help PLA strengthen its military might in the already tensed regions of Tibet. Both the tanks and the howitzer were revealed on the National Day military parade on Oct 1 last year. These are specifically designed for plateau regions which will play a huge role in safeguarding the borders.
The Type 15 tank is the world’s only modern lightweight tank in service and it is equipped with a 105-millimeter gun and advanced sensors that can “devastate enemy light armoured vehicles in regions”. However, the Indian army is laying out its plans to achieve what the new Army Chief had earlier described as an “eventual solution” for the India-China border. The specific area concerns former Tibet-India border from Aksai Chin to Arunachal Pradesh. Gen Naravane told ThePrint that India needs to be firm in dealing with China: We don’t want to be aggressive but firm.
The show of might and diplomacy from both the Asian countries has drawn international attention to its growing military and strategic powers. The border issues between China’s occupied Tibet and India have been frequent in the last years as both the Indian Army and PLA play stand-off to bring resolve. China’s gradual attempt to militarise Tibet has been rampant and the plateau regions have been under heavy military check from a decade since the 2008 uprising.