08 June 2020
China has mobilised thousands of paratroopers, armoured vehicles and equipment in a military drill, saying they could be deployed “within hours” to the border with India in the Himalayas, where tensions have flared once again.
The soldiers and armoured vehicles were transported from the central province of Hubei to an unspecified location in China’s northwest plateau, thousands of kilometres away, in “just a few hours”, state media reported over the weekend.
Collin Koh, a Research Fellow with the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, based at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said the PLA had been “training for this for many years” so it was no surprise they could mobilise troops so quickly.
He said Beijing could also be sending a broader message by deploying troops from Hubei – the initial epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
“[This could] therefore be seen as signalling to … the international community – including perceived adversaries, especially the United States – that the PLA remains combat ready and unaffected by the pandemic,” Koh said.
IDSS / Print
Last updated on 09/06/2020