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China moved tonnes of military vehicles, hardware into Tibet after standoff

July 24, 2017

New Indian Express, July 20, 2017 - The Chinese army moved tens of thousands of tonnes of military vehicles and hardware into the remote mountainous Tibet region after the standoff with Indian troops in the Dokalam area in the Sikkim sector, the mouthpiece of the People’s Liberation Army said on Wednesday.

The vast equipment was transported to a region south of the Kunlun Mountains in northern Tibet by the Western Theatre Command — which oversees the restive regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, and handles border issues with India, reported the PLA Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese military.

The move took place late in June and involved hardware being moved simultaneously by road and rail from across the entire region, the report said. China’s state-run media has stepped up its rhetoric against India in recent weeks but there was no way to confirm the veracity of such claims.

Earlier this week, state-run CCTV had broadcast the People’s Liberation Army troops taking part in heavy military exercises using live ammunition on the Tibetan plateau. The location was not far from the disputed Dokalam area where Chinese and Indian troops are locked in a standoff, the Hong-Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

The PLA Daily report, however, did not say whether the movement of the military equipment was to support the exercise or for other reasons.

However, Defence Ministry sources in New Delhi denied reports of China carrying out any major troop mobilisations close to the border. Claiming a general state of alert on both sides of the Line of Actual Control, army sources said there have been a couple of videos in the media showing massive exercises by the People’s Liberation Army while the Chinese media reported mobilisation of heavy equipment and resources at Doka La.

The army sources claimed that the exercise in the video that has been doing the rounds is a routine annual exercise which took place in early June and is nothing unusual. It took place near Lhasa in Tibet, about 700 km from the border.

Chinese and Indian soldiers have been locked in a face-off in the Dokalam area of the Sikkim sector for over a month after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area. China claimed it was constructing the road within its territory and has been demanding the immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Dokalam plateau.

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