A video published by a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) daily news site Monday appears to show units of the army’s Tibet military district conduct a high-altitude drill at an undisclosed location near the Himalayas, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.
The drill footage shows several units of the PLA’s Tibet Military District “occupying an enemy’s key command center at an altitude of 4,700 meters (15,400 feet),” the Post relayed.
The exercise involved “infantry, artillery, army aviation, special operation forces, electronic warfare, engineers and chemical defense units,” according to descriptions provided by an unidentified narrator of the video. The PLA did not disclose when the drill took place.
The video’s narrator further stated that the PLA’s mock occupation of a Himalayan command center was “designed to test the ability of the various units to work together, as well as use new weapons systems deployed to the region in recent months.”
“In the footage, PLA air defense artillery troops bring down drones similar to Indian reconnaissance devices, air force fighter jets drop missiles to paralyze an enemy command center, and ground force artillery target a field with precision strikes,” the Post detailed.
While the Chinese military did not reveal the identity of its intended enemy during the drill, a former PLA instructor named Song Zhongping told the Post on Monday he believed the adversary in the exercise was meant to represent India. China is currently engaged in a border standoff with India along their unmarked Himalayan boundary. The ongoing dispute sparked after China’s PLA ambushed an Indian border regiment in a deadly attack in June 2020 in northern India’s Ladakh state. Beijing has since beefed up its political and military presence in and near Tibet, which borders India to its north, as part of its continued efforts to project strength along its Himalayan border.“It’s very clear that the PLA’s simulated enemy in these multi-unit joint drills is their Indian counterpart in the Himalayas, with the goal of the training aimed at testing the high-altitude air defense and offence of the Tibet Military District,” Song told the Post.
“In the video clip, the Tibetan artillery troops showed that they are able to use long-range rocket launchers to stage precision strikes, while air defense missile systems could knock down incoming cruise missiles from the hostile side,” the ex-PLA instructor explained.
The Tibet Military District is a unit of the Chinese PLA Ground Force that is currently part of the army’s Chengdu Military Region. The PLA’s Chengdu Military Region spans southwestern China and includes its Tibet Autonomous Region, which is Beijing’s official name for the disputed region of Tibet.