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Chinese media: China conducts military ‘Show of Force’ drills with tanks near Indian border

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been conducting intensive military exercises of multiple dimensions, including high altitude tank and anti-tank drills in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, large-scale, long-distance maneuver of an army brigade to Northwest China, and nighttime group parachute infiltration, following the fatal clash between China and India in the border region.

These PLA drills not only showed that its forces stationed in border regions have high combat capability, but that troops from across China will also come to their aid, and the PLA can crush any aggression with land-air integrated joint operations, Chinese military experts said on Thursday.

Multiple types of new weapons and equipment including Type 15 lightweight tanks and HJ-10 anti-tank missile systems attached to the PLA Tibet Military Command recently joined a comprehensive live-fire drill in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at an elevation of more than 4,700 meters, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday.

During the exercises, the tanks launched a fire strike on targets several kilometers away. After encountering hostile armored units, anti-tank troops switched to the front and destroyed enemy tanks and armored vehicles. Artillery units were also on the move and conducted precision strikes on enemy targets.

The drills also simulated damage to a friendly tank, which was quickly repaired by a support vehicle.

The main threat China faces on its border with India comes from Indian tanks and armored vehicles, but the Type 15 tanks and HJ-10 anti-tank missiles are very strong counters, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday.

A brigade under the PLA 81st Group Army of the PLA Central Theater Command also conducted a large-scale, long-distance maneuver to an undisclosed location in Northwest China thousands of kilometers away, after which its multiple rocket launcher systems, howitzers and anti-aircraft systems participated in real combat-oriented drills in unfamiliar terrains, CCTV reported.

Another airborne brigade recently held a daytime and nighttime group parachute infiltration drill featuring a thousand paratroopers, as main combatants were mixed with scouts and artillerymen for maximum combat efficiency, according to CCTV.

Separately, aviation troops of the PLA 77th Group Army tested their helicopter pilots in high-elevation regions, with attack helicopters and transport helicopters participating, said a statement the PLA Western Theater Command released on Thursday.

Previous reports showed that many other forces, including the 75th Group Army of PLA Southern Theater Command and thousands of paratroopers from Central China, have also mobilized to western China.

Song said that while the Western Theater Command is responsible for the defense of the border between China and India, forces from other theater commands can also support it.

While the fatal clash between China and India in the Galwan Valley region is unlikely to escalate into a large-scale military conflict, as such an escalation is against the interests of both sides, the PLA showed they are prepared, analysts said.

Header: Rows of Chinese military vehicles. A satellite image taken over Galwan Valley in Ladakh India, parts of which are contested with China, June 16, 2020, in this handout obtained from Planet Labs Inc. Mandatory credit PLANET LABS INC/via@Reuters

Source: Global Times