Beijing: A strategic Chinese military area command which provides security along the China-India border in Tibet has held its live-firing drill with 1.40 lakh troops to test the PLA’s digitised command and joint computer -coordinated bombardments, the state media reported today. Organised by the PLA Chengdu Military Area Command, “Joint Action-2015D,” began yesterday in a plateau area in the southwestern province of Sichuan and is the first of the five, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a defence statement as saying.
“Joint Action-2015D” is one of the five similar drills involving more than 140,000 troops from over 140 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiments of various types, the statement said.
Sichuan borders Tibet region and the Chengdu Military Area Command oversees the security of Tibet and the India-China border in that area. The drill involved personnel from the army, navy, air force and artillery, to test the troops’ joint operations using digitised commands and information, it said. Exercises included long-distance delivery, joint intelligence reconnaissance and joint computer-coordinated bombardments, are among the focuses of the exercises, the statement said.
The exercises are expected to improve the troops’ capability of reacting in dangerous and changing circumstances, it said. The exercises are followed by PLA’s biggest live fire drills in the disputed South China Sea (SCS) recently in which over 100 naval ships and besides thousands of troops took part.
While China defended the drill saying that it is a routine military exercises, analysts pointed out that it was aimed sending a strong signal to US which is aggressively backing several claimants to the SCS including, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan which staunchly opposed China’s claims over all of the SCS.
The 2.3-million-member PLA, the world’s biggest standing army, has stepped up its drills which included live firing exercises involving mock rival forces to test the ability of the troops since Chinese President Xi Jinping took over power in 2013.
While cracking down hard against corruption in the military, Xi is also pressing PLA to test its preparedness to win wars. About 40 top military officials including two former Vice Chairmen of Central Military Commission were being probed. A military court yesterday sentenced Gu Junshan, former deputy head of the General Logistics Department of the PLA to death with a two-year reprieve for corruption.