New Delhi, July 17: Amid the ongoing stand-off with Indian Army in the disputed territory of Doklam, China held an ’11-hour military drill’ close to the borders of Arunachal Pradesh. The military exercise was held in the southern part of Tibet Autonomous Region, close to the middle and lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo river.
According to Beijing’s national broadcaster – China Central Television (CCTV) – the military drill was held to simulate quick movement of troops in war-like situation, and ‘destroy enemy aircraft’.” It further specified that the troopers deployed for the drill are part of the People’s Liberation Army’s two plateau brigades.
The location of the drill, chosen by PLA, sends an intimidating signal to India amid the escalating border tensions between the two nations, experts opined. The military exercise was conducted in the vicinity of Yarlung Zangbo river, which flows into Arunachal as Sang, and turns into Brahmaputra in Assam and West Bengal. Beijing is reportedly mulling the idea of building multiple dams at Yarlung Zangbo, which may hinder the flow of water towards India.
The video of military drill was released by PLA.
The PLA brigade which participated in the drill, reported Chinese state-run publication Global Times, is usually deployed in southern Tibet, with borders with Arunachal Pradesh, the easternmost state of India. It further added that practicing quick assembly of troops and using anti-tank missiles is essential to keep the PLA forces prepared for combat in the region.
“The video also shows radar units identifying enemy aircraft and soldiers using anti-aircraft artillery to annihilate targets,” the nationalist tabloid said.
The fresh military drill by Chinese forces comes nearly a week after the PLA conducted an exercise in central Tibet, nearly 5,100 feet above the sea-level. The Chinese forces had then tasted new battle equipments, including the 35-tonne lightweight tanks, Xinhua news agency had reported.
However, PLA spokesperson Wu Qian clarified that the military drill was not targeted against India. “The purpose is to test the parameters of the equipment and is not targeted against any country,” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Stand-off at Sikkim
The Indian and Chinese forces remain at stand-off at the border near Sikkim for the fifth week in a row, as neither of the two sides have agreed to soften their stance over the disputed territory of Doklam. The stand-off erupted in mid-June, after the Indian forces prevented the road-construction party of PLA to construct a road in Doklam, lying at the tri-juncture of India, Bhutan and China.
The construction of road in Doklam is viewed by New Delhi as a major security threat, along with the undermining of the sovereignty of Bhutan. Thimphu, which has entered into a strategic tie-up with New Delhi, protested the entry of PLA in Doklam, calling it a ‘violation of their borders’.
Beijing, however, contested the claims made by New Delhi and Thimphu, calling Doklam as part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, lying under the jurisdiction of Beijing.