China’s PLA holds high altitude drill in Tibet to test military-civilian integration


Beijing: Chinese military stationed in Tibet has carried out a drill to test their logistics, armament support capabilities and military-civilian integration in the remote Himalayan region, official media reported here on Friday.

The drill carried out by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units on Tuesday was the first such reported exercise in Tibet since the Doklam standoff.

State-run ‘Global Times’ which reported the drill also cited the PLA’s 13-hour long exercise conducted at an elevation of 4,600 metres in August last year.

Analysts hailed the Tuesday’s drill, which was held in cooperation with local companies and government, as an important move toward military-civilian integration, a strategy to realise the country’s goal of building a strong military in the new era, the report said.

An important component of the drill was the military-civilian integration strategy, a key component in Tibet where the Dalai Lama’s legacy still lingers on.

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has an adverse climate and complex topography. Over a long period of time, it is very difficult to provide soldiers with logistics and armament support, the report said.

To solve the difficulties in personnel survival, delivery, material supply, rescue, emergency maintenance and road safety, the military has adopted a military-civilian integration strategy and constantly advanced logistics support capabilities, Zhang Wenlong, head of the command logistics support department, was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Zhang said that the drill aimed to explore a new mode of military-civilian integration in the plateau command following the reshuffle of the military system.

During the drill, a local petroleum company supplied fuel immediately when the armoured unit ran out of fuel and the city government of Lhasa delivered a steady flow of food to soldiers after a day of mock battle, the report said.

“The biggest challenge of battle at the high altitude is to provide sustainable logistics and armament support. In the 1962 China-India border conflict, China failed to protect its fruits of victory due to poor logistics support. Although local Tibetan residents provided soldiers with temporary support, it was not sustainable,” Song Zhongping, a military expert, told the Global Times.

“The drill showed that military-civilian integration is a feasible strategy and could help form stronger combat power,” he added.

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