The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) deployed tanks Sunday near their contested border with India, heightening the tensions that have already resulted in more than 63 casualties between Chinese and Indian soldiers.
A statement issued by PLA Tibet Military Command announced that China has, “Organized infantry-tank cooperation drills at an undisclosed location at an elevation of more than 4,700 meters, putting the troops’ teamwork and rapid-response capabilities to a comprehensive test” according to Chinese propaganda outlet Global Times.
China has sent one of their most advanced tanks to the region, the Type 15. Designed with a lightweight frame, the Type 15 is well-equipped for the type of mountainous and plateau-covered terrain that composes the India/China border. The decision to send Chinese tanks units close to the Indian border comes as deadly clashes between Chinese and Indian troops have erupted for the first time since 1975.
India claims that China has illicitly tried to construct military buildings in Indian territory. Indian officials said that China, “Was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties” as reported by the Financial Times.
Meanwhile, China has maintained that India was actually at fault for the border escalation, saying that India moved soldiers across the Line of Actual Control and provoked retaliation. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned, “The Indian side would best not make an incorrect judgment of the situation, would best not underestimate China’s strong determination to safety its sovereign territory.”
Despite the amplified military tensions, the Global Times claimed that India and China, “Have been maintaining close contact over the current situation through diplomatic and military channels, and have reached a consensus that the dispute should not escalate to a conflict.”