China has moved ten thousands tonnes of military vehicles and equipment to Tibet. Yes, and according to reports, this happened most likely under the garb of two defence exercises held on the plateau in recent weeks. The exercises were aimed at muscle-flexing amid the Doklam stand-off.
While the massive beefing up of the logistics was not near the Sikkim border but in northern Tibet, near Xinjiang in the west, it will not take long for Beijing to rapidly deploy its logistics to the border. Beijing can quickly use its vast road and rail network in Tibet. Though the distance is merely 700 km, it can be easily covered in six to seven hours.
The PLA Daily, an official newspaper of the military quoted, “The vast haul was transported to a region south of the Kunlun Mountains in northern Tibet by the Western Theatre Command – which oversees the restive regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, and handles border issues with India.”
The report even said that the project took place last month and involved hardware being moved simultaneously by road and rail from across the entire region.
But, what exactly is the PLA up to?
The PLA daily did not mention that the movement of the hardware was just for the exercises so we never know. But on July 3, the state media reported drills involving a new battle tank. While this past weekend, it was also being said that a live-fire drill and testing of anti-aircraft guns was held on the plateau(the plateau responsible for frontier combat operations.)
Should India be scared?
A Shanghai based military commentator, Ni Lexiong told the South China Morning Post, “The movement was likely related to the stand-off and could have been designed to bring India to the negotiating table.”
He further added, “Diplomatic talks must be backed by military preparation.”
Zhou Chenming, a military commentator said, “The PLA wanted to demonstrate it could easily overpower its Indian counterparts.”
Wang Dehua, a South Asia strategic expert, told the paper that “military operations are all about logistics and at present, there is much better logistics support to the Tibet region.”
Wang quoted further saying, “China is also different from how it was in 1962 and logistics difficulties contributed to China pulling back and declaring a unilateral ceasefire.”
Now that the PLA can easily transport troops and supplies to the frontline, everything is easy, thanks to the much-improved infrastructure including the Qinghai-Tibet railway and other new roads connecting the plateau to the rest part of China.
Wang even thanked the much-improved infrastructure including the Qinghai-Tibet railway and other new roads connecting the plateau to the rest part of China.