Chinese PLA conducts night combat exercise at 16,000 feet above sea level near Indian border

New Delhi, September 20 (IANS): The Chinese People’s Liberation Army conducted a night-time combat exercise over 16,000 feet in the Xinjian heights near the Indian border amid the border dispute between the two countries in eastern Ladakh and ongoing military and diplomatic talks to resolve it.

Western Theater Command recently conducted the night combat exercise to boost its capabilities, sources said. The theater command oversees the autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Tibet as well as the border with India, making it the largest geographic area under a single PLA command.

Earlier this year, China brought troops from the Tibet military region to the Xinjiang region which is responsible for the Karakoram Pass to southern Uttarakhand. In addition, they have deployed more long-range artillery and are rapidly building infrastructure on the Tibetan plateau.

After these troops were brought in, the PLA began to conduct military exercises in the area.

In addition, China has renovated its existing airfields on the Tibetan plateau which will allow the parking of twin-engine fighter jets. They are currently renovating 30 airports built or under construction in Xinjiang and Tibet for military transport.

China has reorganized infrastructure in Tibet, launching a high-speed train connecting the provincial capital Lhasa to Nyingchi, the Tibetan border town near Arunachal Pradesh.

The Chinese have also rapidly improved the military infrastructure on the Real Line of Control (LAC) after clashes with India last year.

India has also redirected around 50,000 troops whose main focus is now the disputed border with China.

The two countries decided to resolve the issue through talks.

Last month, in another major breakthrough, India and China withdrew their troops from the sticking point, Patrolling Point (PP) 17 at Gogra at LAC in eastern Ladakh.

The two countries have ceased advanced deployments in this area in a gradual, coordinated and verified manner.

Indian military delegates will meet with their Chinese counterparts to discuss disengagement in the other friction zone, the Depsang Plains.

The build-up at Depsang was not seen as part of the current stalemate that began in May of last year, as escalations took place here in 2013. India insisted during recent commanders’ meetings military to resolve all issues in the ALC.