China’s military activities in Tibet rising

TibetanReview: While an obvious factional political power struggle of unknown intensity continues behind closed doors, China has externally been flexing its military muscles on an ever rising scale against countries and regions with which it has territorial disputes and ambitions, including with India. China’s online media has been reporting a series of successful military exercises and testings in Tibet over the last couple of years or so. More recently, it has reported a series of day and night aerial drills by its air force as well as exercises by its special forces.

However, much of the reports consisted of pictures and captions with little actual details. Specifically, China’s state-run CCTV (China Central Television) reported Sep 16 that special operations forces from the People's Liberation Army had began an annual set of military drills aimed at training reconnaissance capabilities and survival skills.

India’s PTI news agency reported Sep 16 that while China’s naval forces in the East China Sea practiced capture of islands (where a dispute with Japan over a set of uninhabited islets has flared up), the state media carried picture of Air Force planes flying over Himalayas in a formation. It added that the photo was carried as part of a 'weekly review' of military pictures.

The report quoted the text of one CCTV footage as saying, "The PLA heavy fighters cruise with live ammunition over Himalayas," without mention of any exercises. It noted that in July the PLA fighter jets practised night exercises in Tibet. Such exercises were reported by China’s official Sep 11 too. It said an aviation division of the air force under the Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) had conducted night training on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau recently.

India already considers itself to be in a disadvantage against China in case an armed conflict should occur because of the latter’s massive infrastructure developments in Tibet, including especially with
the building of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, road transport facilities and deployment of latest fighter planes and nuclear capable missiles close to India’s borders. It has initiated urgent road building, fighter plane and supersonic missile deployment and special mountain force raising exercises recently.

Earlier, China’s official Xinhua news agency said Sep 14 that the country’s armed forces had been piling on muscle in the past decade and were always prepared to safeguard the nation's sovereignty, security and interests.

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