The Chinese army, also known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has begun major military exercises in the high-altitude region of Tibet, a media report said on December 5. The Chinese military has reportedly deployed weapons including the new 155-MM vehicle-mounted howitzer and also Type 15 light battle tanks.
According to reports, the PLA has deployed armoured vehicles, heavy artillery, helicopters and anti-aircraft missiles across the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.
The tanks and howitzers are specifically designed for the rough terrain of Tibet and were revealed to the public on National Day military parade on October 1 last year, the local media reported. The deployment of the weapons at the Tibet Military Command will enhance PLA's capability in the region, a military expert said. The People's Republic of China incorporated Tibet in 1950 after gaining control over most of mainland China during the Chinese civil war.
India and China share over 3,488 kilometres of the international border along the Line of Actual Control that also includes borders along Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet. The Indian and Chinese military were involved in a face-off in the Doklam region where China is allegedly constructing roads and other infrastructure to improve connectivity in the high-altitude area.
Military expert says that China's heavy military deployment in Tibet with powerful engines enables them to manoeuvre efficiently in the tough terrain. Tibet is a long-disputed area in the Indian sub-continent and is currently under Chinese occupation.
According to Indian government data, around 85,000 Tibetan refugees are currently living in India. Indian government opened gates for Tibetan refugees after the 1959 uprising that saw the 14th Dalai Lama leading a large number of migrants to India.