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China sends military vehicles, supplies to Tibet

By The Assam Tribune

Beijing, July 19 (IANS): China has moved tens of thousands of tonnes of military vehicles and equipment into Tibet amid a continuing stand-off between Chinese and Indian troops in Doklam in the Sikkim sector of the border.

The hardware was moved simultaneously by road and rail from across the entire region in late June, a report in the PLA Daily run by the Chinese Army said.

The report comes as the Chinese Army held a live-fire drill last week in Tibet, which borders India.

According to the Chinese media report, the drill was conducted not far from Doklam, which is at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan.

The PLA report did not say if the military supply was linked to the drill in Tibet.

"The vast haul 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," the South China Morning Post quoted the PLA Daily as saying.

"Diplomatic talks must be backed by military preparation," Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military commentator, was quoted as saying by the Post.

Wang Dehua, an expert on South Asia studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said the scale of the troop and equipment movement showed how much easier it now was for China to defend its western borders.

"Military operations are all about logistics," he said. "Now there is much better logistics support to the Tibet region."

Now, the military can "easily transport troops and supplies to the frontline, thanks to the much-improved infrastructure including the Qinghai-Tibet railway and other new roads connecting the plateau to the rest part of China", Wang said.

There is no let-up in the tensions between India and China over the stand-off in Doklam. China has adopted a tough stand over the issue and has been issuing warnings to India every other day.

The state-run Chinese media has even warned of war with India.

The borders of India, Bhutan and China meet at Doklam, which holds a strategic importance to all three.

China calls Doklam its own, but India and Bhutan call it Bhutanese territory.

India, a close ally of Bhutan, stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in Doklam in June, leading to the face-off between New Delhi and Beijing.

Now, both armies are eyeball-to-eyeball at Doklam. India says it wants to resolve the issue diplomatically.

But China says it won't talk to India unless New Delhi withdraws troops from Doklam.

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