Chinese army carries out large-scale drill to check preparedness at border with India
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has carried out a large-scale drill involving thousands of paratroopers to check its preparedness in transporting soldiers and armoured vehicles from a central Chinese province to border areas to the northwest of the country.
The largescale “maneuver operation” was done in the backdrop of the ongoing border standoff with India, the nationalistic tabloid Global Times and national broadcaster CCTV said in reports.
The news on Chinese state media came out on a day when New Delhi said that India and China will continue military and diplomatic engagements to resolve a weeks-old standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
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This was after talks were held between delegations led Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, commander of Leh-based 14 Corps and a delegation led by Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region, at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC on Saturday.
The reports didn’t give the location where the soldiers and the armoured vehicles were transported to but said enough to indicate that the drill was a message to India.
Using civilian airlines, logistical transportation channels and railways, several thousand paratroopers under a PLA Air Force airborne brigade recently maneuvered from Hubei, which is in central China, to an undisclosed location in the plateaus of northwestern China thousands of kilometres away, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.
“Several hundred pieces of military equipment including armoured vehicles and huge batches of supplies were also involved in the operation, which ended successfully in just a few hours,” the report said.
The maneuver was completed in a few hours, the report said.
“This maneuver mission saw significant breakthroughs not only in the scale of mobilised troops but also means of transportation. [Using civilian transportation] substantially expanded our means of transporting forces and increased efficiency in maneuvering an entire organisation of troops,” Major Colonel Mao Lei, head of the training department at the airborne brigade, said on CCTV.
“Groups of tanks and armored vehicles attached to the 76th Group Army under the PLA Western Theater Command also conducted a long-distance maneuver on May 14,” according to Chinese military media outlet China Military, quoted by GT.
Last week, another report in the Global Times had said that the PLA’s Tibet Military Command recently “...sent troops to a high-altitude region at an elevation of 4,700 meters at night for infiltration exercises behind enemy lines and tested their combat capability under a harsh environment”.