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China flexing muscle? Frontline combat brigade holds 'live fire drills' in Tibet

A brigade of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) responsible for frontline combat operations has held "live fire exercises" in Tibet with a focus on boosting its "quick delivery of troops", Chinese media have reported.

The exact timing of the drills is unclear, but this weekend's reports are the latest indication of muscle-flexing by China amid the month-long stand-off at Doklam.

Another report on July 3 said the same Western Theatre Command had held an armoured brigade drill at 5100 metres in Tibet to test "combat readiness".


DRILLS HELD FOR PRACTICING QUICK RESPONSE

One of two mountain brigades on the Tibetan plateau, under the Tibet Military Command of the Western Theatre, carried out the drills. A video was released by China Central Television this weekend, and the Party-run Global Times reported on the drills today.

The videos appeared to be different from last month's drills, which showcased the PLA's most advanced Type 96 battle tank. This video showed artillery firing with howitzers and anti-tank grenades, as well as radar units identifying enemy aircraft.

The report said the brigade was "responsible for frontline combat missions" and had "long been stationed around the middle and lower reaches" of the Brahmaputra river, or Yarlung Zangbo as it is called in China.

The drills included "the quick delivery of troops and different military units working together on joint attacks" while a video showed troops using anti-tank grenades and howitzers in artillery firing.

Radar units "identifying enemy aircraft and soldiers using anti-aircraft artillery to annihilate targets" were also tested, reports said.

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