PLA Paratroopers Hold Intensive Tactical Drills in NW China
(Source: Global Times; issued June 09, 2020)
Armored vehicles launch assault on hostile positions during tactical drills by a People's Liberation Army (PLA) airborne brigade in Northwest China's desert regions on June 1, 2020. (PLA photo)
Since the long-distance maneuver to Northwest China's desert regions was held in mid-May, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) paratroopers have held intensive tactical drills and mock battles in June, Chinese military media revealed on Tuesday.

A PLA airborne brigade held the exercises deep in the northwestern desert on June 1, in which a mechanized infantry battalion integrated multiple forces including armored vehicles, artilleries, engineering troops and scouts in a real-combat scenario, the PLA Daily reported on Tuesday, noting the drills honed the troops' capabilities in command and control, rapid assaults and fire strikes.

Since the brigade's long-distance maneuver to this region in mid-May, the troops have completed several drills including daytime and nighttime live-fire tests, tactical training and weapons tests.

"Paratroopers have strong assault capabilities, fast maneuvering speed and wide combat areas, making them an 'iron fist' in joint operations against the enemy. Exercising the 'iron fist' will give us a better chance at winning on the battlefield," the PLA Daily quoted an officer at the brigade as saying.

The maneuver was only the first step, and the actual drills that closely followed should be the real test of troops' fighting ability, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday.

A PLA Air Force airborne brigade of thousands of paratroopers recently maneuvered from Central China's Hubei Province to an undisclosed location in the plateaus of northwestern China in just a few hours, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday. The PLA Daily did not specify if the airborne brigade in the latest report is the same one as in the CCTV report.

China's airborne troops have seen noteworthy development over the years in reforms and have become a significant strategic force, said another PLA Daily report on Tuesday.

The airborne brigade from Central China is not the only force that has recently maneuvered to the northwestern desert.

A brigade under the 74th Group Army of the PLA Southern Theater Command also conducted a long-distance maneuver to Northwest China in May from South China's Guangdong Province. The troops have conducted a series of artillery live-fire shooting tests there, according to a statement the PLA Southern Theater Command released on Tuesday.

Some military observers have connected these events to the ongoing border situation between China and India.

After positive talks between the two countries' senior military officers, experts said the dispute will not escalate into a conflict or another Doklam standoff, but the military standoff could continue for a little longer before concrete resolutions to the issues such as the trigger of the recent tension along the border, India's construction of infrastructure on Chinese territory, are made.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at Monday's regular press conference on Monday that China and India have been in close communication through diplomatic and military channels regarding the border situation. Both sides agree to implement the important consensus of the two leaders and avoid escalation of differences into disputes.

She stressed that China-India border situation is generally stable and controllable, and both sides are willing and capable of resolving related issues through negotiations and talks.

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