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PLA runs tank drills on Indian border as Ladakh talks collapse

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The Chinese army put tank regiments through their paces near the Indian border as territorial talks between the two sides failed at the weekend, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported Monday.

The Xinjiang military district of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which faces Indian troops at an elevation of 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) in the Karakoram Mountains, had been actively improving its high-altitude tank-battle capabilities, SCMP reported.

The report came as the 13th round of negotiations between Indian and Chinese military commanders broke down on Sunday, with both sides blaming the other for the flashpoints along their disputed mountainous border.

In another report, Chinese state media said a brigade had for the first time staged a live ammunition test-fire of grenade launchers in western Sichuan.

PLA spokesman Long Shaohua blamed the deadlock on India's "unreasonable and unrealistic demands" despite "the Chinese side's tremendous efforts to promote the cooling and de-escalation of the border situation".

The PLA has also deployed its latest Type 15 lightweight tank - specialized for mountainous regions - to soldiers in Xinjiang and Tibet.

In another drill by the Xinjiang military district two weeks ago, artillery battalions carried out overnight live-fire drills with self-propelled guns and rockets on the Karakoram range in minus 10-degree Celsius snowy conditions.

Indian Army statement

In a statement after the 13th round of talks, the Army said the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) had been caused by "unilateral attempts" of the Chinese side to alter the status quo and it is necessary that China takes appropriate steps to restore peace in the region.

"During the meeting, the Indian side therefore made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals. The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas," the Army said in a statement on the talks that lasted eight-and-a-half hours.

"The Indian side pointed out that the situation along the LAC had been caused by unilateral attempts of Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements," the Army also said, adding: "It was therefore necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western sector."

Chinese statement

China and India held the 13th round of corps commander-level talks at the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point on Sunday, during which India made unreasonable and unrealistic demands, adding difficulties to the negotiations, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Western Theater Command said in a statement released on Monday.

Taking into consideration of the overall situation in China-India ties and the relations between the two countries' militaries, China has made tremendous efforts to ease border tensions and fully demonstrated its sincerity, said Senior Colonel Long Shaohua in the statement.

China is unwavering in its determination to safeguard its sovereignty, and hopes India will not misjudge the situation, will cherish the current hard-earned situation and take actions with sincerity to safeguard peace and stability at the border by abiding with the relevant agreements and consensus reached by the two sides, Long said.

The strongly worded Chinese statement on India's unreasonable and unrealistic demands at the 13th round of corps commander-level talks came shortly after Indian media outlets News18 cited Indian government sources as claiming on Friday that the Indian army temporarily detained a few Chinese soldiers in the Zangnan area in southern Xizang (Tibet) for "incursions" into this area.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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