Chinese military holds combat drills in Tibet
Beijing, July 21: The special forces of the Chinese military have conducted drills in Tibet, including ground training for helicopter pilots, to test their skills in the high altitude region, state-run media reported on Friday.
The training simulated a behind-enemy-lines infiltration mission at an elevation of 4,000 metres in Tibet, the PLA Daily, the official organ of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) reported.
"Pilots and special forces rappelled down to the ground from helicopters and conducted the mission together," the report said yesterday.
This is the second military drill highlighted by the Chinese official media in over a fortnight in Tibet.
On June 29, an official media had reported that Chinese military units stationed in Tibet carried out a drill testing armament support capabilities as well as military civil integration in the Himalayan region bordering India.
The latest military exercises prepared participants for a potential military confrontation with India, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told state-run Global Times.
The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China covered 3,488 kms which included Arunachal Pradesh, claimed by China as part of southern Tibet.
"It's normal for any military training to have an imaginary opposing force," Song said.
"In this case, it's obvious who the target is, given the fact that training was conducted on the plateau in Tibet.
"Infiltrating behind enemy lines was "an effective special operation that could be key to winning a battle. It's valuable for all forces to practice this kind of training," Song said.
Chinese pilots have been practising joint operations with special forces this year so as to understand each other's needs and enhance battle cooperation, the PLA Daily reported.
Training with special forces will also improve pilots' ability to survive out in the wild, Song noted.
Military operations in Tibet are difficult because of its high elevation, low atmospheric pressure, thin air and relatively low temperature, he said.
Earlier, official media also reported about China setting up an unmanned automatic weather observation station in Tibet close to the border of Arunachal Pradesh to provide meteorological support for its fighter jets and missile launches.
The station's data can assist with aircraft take-off and landing and the launch of missiles, Chinese experts said.
Chinese military units in general had stepped exercises simulating real-time battle conditions after President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.