Beijing, Jan 8 (IANS) China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) now has new vehicle-mounted howitzers in Tibet to enhance the high-altitude combat capability of its forces in the region bordering India.
These howitzers were used in the Chinese artillery brigade during the 73-day military stand-off with India in 2017.
The deployment of these cannons came in the light of China’s unresolved border disputes and anti-Beijing activities by pro-Tibet independence forces and terrorists, according to military analysts in a Global Times report.
Of the 14 neighbours, China was yet to solve its border disputes with India and Bhutan.
Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, confirmed to the Global Times on Monday that the howitzer has a 52-calibre cannon with a range of over 50 kilometres and shoots laser-guided and satellite-guided projectiles.
Zhao Gancheng, Director of the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the daily that the military investment in Tibet had been rising, but was primarily meant for defence and not to provoke conflict with neighbouring countries.
The PLA troops stationed in Tibet need to improve their combat capabilities in plateau areas and strengthen their willpower in extreme weather as they are primarily responsible for the border defence against terrorists and foreign invaders, he said.
Last week, a news report said a new generation much swifter lightweight battle tank, which could easily be deployed in Tibet in the event of a conflict with India, has been handed over to the PLA.
The Type 15 light tank, which has better mobility than other armoured vehicles, was displayed at an exhibition in Beijing last month on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of China’s reforms and opening up.