The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) last week conducted a live-fire drill in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) for anti-tank units to “test their precision strike capability”.

In drills that followed a major live-fire air attack drill conducted in March, a brigade under the Tibet Military Area Command of the PLA organised its anti-tank unit to conduct a live-fire drill on June 14, the official PLA Daily and other state media outlets reported.

The drill, the report said, was “a bid to uplift the psychological quality of the troops, enhance and test their precision strike capability”.

Recent drills

In recent months, the PLA has held two major drills on the Tibetan plateau. In October, a live-fire drill comprising air force and armour and artillery units was conducted, followed by a ground attack training drill with the PLA Air Force’s (PLAAF) J-10 fighters in March. Last month, an engineering unit of the PLAAF announced it had “modified” aircraft to make them more suited to the harsh environment of the Tibetan plateau and pledged that it would improve aircraft maintenance work.

The drills and announcements have been seen by some Indian analysts as a reflection of a stepping up of China’s military preparedness. Through these, Beijing is sending signals about its capabilities in the region, they feel. Analysts believe this to be a likely response to recent announcements by India that it would deploy Sukhoi 30 aircraft and boost its military strength in border areas.

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