China begins major military exercises
The Chinese army has begun major military exercises in the high-altitude Tibet bordering India, deploying latest weapons including the Type 15 light battle tank and the new 155-MM vehicle-mounted howitzer. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Command started its New Year exercises in which it has deployed helicopters, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery and anti-aircraft missiles across the region from Lhasa, capital of Tibet, to the border defence front lines with elevations of more than 4,000 metres, state-run Global Times reported.
- India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) covered 3,488 kilometres, including the border along Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet.
- Both the tank and howitzer, which were revealed to the public on the National Day military parade on October 1 last year, are specifically designed with advantages for plateau regions and can play important roles in safeguarding border areas, the report said.
- Their deployment in the Tibet Military Command will enhance PLA combat capability in the plateau regions.
- Both were equipped with powerful engines, enabling them to manoeuvre efficiently in Tibet’s terrains, a military expert was quoted as saying in the report.
- Heavier hostile weapons cannot reach the oxygen-depleted border areas, and, if lighter, they do not have enough firepower.
- 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.
- The six-wheeled, 155-millimeter vehicle-mounted howitzer is of high calibre, reacts fast and can be easily deployed.