China Moved Military Hardware Into Tibet Post Border Standoff: Report

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Beijing: The People’s Liberation Army or PLA of China moved tens of thousands of tonnes of military vehicles and hardware into the remote mountainous Tibet region after the standoff with Indian troops in Dokalam in the Sikkim sector, the PLA’s mouthpiece said today.

The military equipment was taken to a region south of the Kunlun mountains in northern Tibet by the PLA’s Western Theatre Command, which oversees Xinjiang and Tibet, and handles border issues with India, said the PLA Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese military.

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The military hardware was moved simultaneously by road and rail, the report said. China’s state-run media has stepped up rhetoric against India in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, the state-run China Central Television had broadcast the PLA’s troops participating in heavy military exercises using live ammunition on the Tibetan plateau. The location was not far from the disputed Dokalam where Chinese and Indian troops are locked in a standoff, the Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post reported.

The PLA Daily report, however, did not say whether the movement of military equipment was to support the exercise or for other reasons.

Wang Dehua, an expert on South Asian studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said the scale of the troop and equipment movement showed how easy it is for China to defend its western border. “Military operations are all about logistics,” he said. “Now there is much better logistics support to the Tibet region.”

Chinese and Indian soldiers have been locked in a face-off in Dokalam for over a month after Indian troops reportedly stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the area. China claimed they were constructing the road within their territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from Dokalam plateau.

New Delhi has expressed concern over the road-building, apprehending that it may allow Chinese troops to cut India’s access to the Northeast.

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