Chinese State-owned media Global Times reported on Saturday that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has organized a large-scale maneuver operation to the country’s high-altitude northwestern region over a long distance from Central China’s Hubei Province amid border tensions between China and India. The entire process was completed in just a few hours, demonstrating China’s capability of quickly reinforcing border defenses when necessary. The mobilization showed the PLA has the capability to project its power anywhere in China very quickly and send reinforcements to remote locations with harsh environments, including high elevation.
Using civilian airlines, logistical transportation channels and railways, several thousand paratroopers under a PLA Air Force airborne brigade recently maneuvered from Hubei to an undisclosed location in the plateaus of northwestern China thousands of kilometers away. Several hundred pieces of military equipment including armored vehicles and huge batches of supplies were also involved in the operation, which ended successfully in just a few hours. Hubei is the province hit hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak, but it has now fully recovered and troops there are ready to conduct exercises and prepare for combat.
On May 14 Groups of tanks and armored vehicles attached to the 76th Group Army under the PLA Western Theater Command also conducted a long-distance maneuver. Global Times on Sunday has listed Type 15 light tank, PCL-181 vehicle-mounter howitzer, Z-20 helicopter and Wing Loong II (GJ-2) combat drone and other weapons to be used in a potential border conflict with India. Since the Doklam standoff with India in 2017, the Chinese military has expanded its arsenal with weapons that should give China the advantage in high-altitude conflicts should they arise. China 30-ton Type 15 tank and 25-ton PCL-181 vehicle-mounter howitzer were spotted in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region in January, very close to India’s Ladakh.
The mobilization operation came at a time when China and India face a new wave of tensions due to high altitude border issues, as reports say both sides have reinforced their border defenses. Senior military officers from both sides, namely China’s Southern Xinjiang Military District chief and India’s 14 Corps commander, on Saturday held a first round of talks, which ended with a “positive trajectory”. China’s Foreign Ministry has stressed at the recent regular press briefings that the situation on the China-India border is stable and controllable, and diplomatic and military channels of communication between the two sides are unimpeded.