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China's PLA steps up drills in Tibetan plateau region post Doklam standoff

The People's Liberation Army has been executing military training instructions issued by President Xi Jinping on January 3

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

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All wings of the have stepped up drills at home and abroad focusing their training on the plateau region post-Dokalam, the official media reported on Friday.

The People's (PLA) has been executing military training instructions issued by on January 3 by conducting drills at home and abroad involving its ground forces, Navy, Air Force, rocket (missile) force and armed police, it said.

The People's Liberation Army's official media cautioned the troops on Thursday of imminent threats and to avoid complacency. The drills included by the Chinese navy at base in the Indian Ocean, which was officially stated to be a logistics base.

The PLA Daily, the official mouthpiece of the 2.3 million strong military, said China's most advanced military aircraft including the stealth fighter jet, the Y-20 transport aircraft, the H-6k bomber, and the J-16, J-11B J-10C fighter jets have all conducted training exercises since the beginning of 2018.

The is conducting air combat training with other fighter planes including the The is also practising beyond-visual-range air combat, and other aircraft, including the Y-20 and the J-10C, are training at unspecified airports on a "plateau region" in order to improve their capability in long-range military transport and air combat, reported.

The "plateau region" refers to the which covered along Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and

"India's ground force has some advantages in quantity in the border areas, so if conflict happens, China's needs to seize domination of the skies and immediately create an overwhelming advantage for China," a retired PLA officer who used to serve in the and asked not to be identified, was quoted as saying by the Global Times.

"So increasing military training in the plateau region is highly necessary," he said.

The drills assumed significance as potential military conflicts in plateau regions have been on the rise since the border friction with India last year, the official said.

and India were engaged in a 73-day tense standoff at Dokalam in the sector which ended on August 28.

The report highlighted a potential military conflict between India and in the backdrop of hectic parleys between the two countries to improve relations.

This included Chinese holding talks with top Indian officials on the sidelines of Russia, India and China meeting at New Delhi last month followed by the 20th round of border talks there between Security Advisor during which both sides agreed to make efforts to restore peace and stability along the LAC.

Modern Navy, a WeChat public account run by the PLA Navy, reported on Wednesday that the PLA Marine Corps stationed in China's first overseas logistic base in conducted a series of combat training missions including "countering reconnaissance from hostile aircraft, encountering combat in a desert, and tracking and annihilating terrorists".

Experts said the possibility of military conflict around China has increased in recent years, said.

"In regions like the Korean Peninsula, China-India border area and the Taiwan Straits, the PLA needs to be prepared for all possibilities. Our overseas interests in regions like and the are also under threat due to local instability," Xu Guangyu, a retired major general and senior adviser of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association told the daily.

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 14:24 IST