Wednesday, July 24, 2013

About Tibet and Xinjiang Military Districts

Night Exercises in Lhasa 
This PTI article seems to mix up the Chengdu Military Region (CMR) and the Lanzhou Military Region (LMR).
Xinhua reported about "PLA Air Force holds night flight training in Lhasa", which comes under Tibet Military District of Chengdu Military Region.
The recent border incidents and intrusions (in Ladakh) occurred in the Xinjiang Military District of Lanzhou Military Region.
Regarding the choppers' night flight, Xinhua commented on the  picture: "A helicopter of China's PLA Air Force takes part in a night flight training at an airport in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, July 22, 2013. This is the first time for the PLA Air Force to hold such training."
I earlier mentioned that the Tibet Military District has a new Commander, Major General Xu Yong.
In 2007, General Xu was awarded the rank of major general and a year later, he was given the command of the Thirteenth Group Army.
Interestingly his predecessor in Tibet, Lt. General Yang Jinshan, who  has been promoted as a Deputy Commander of the Chengdu Military Region; he is a member of the powerful CCP's Central Committee. It is not the case of General Xu.

Night Exercises in Lhasa
Lt. General Yang Jinshan has an Air Force background; this may explain the repeated 'exercises' in the Tibet District, facing Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim (see map below). Lt General Li Zuocheng, former Deputy Commander of Chengdu MR recently replaced  Lt. Gen. Li Shiming who was commanding the MR since September 2007.
The Tibet Military District has also a new Political Commissar, Maj. Gen. Diao Guoxin. In December 2010, he became Political Commissar of the Thirteenth Group Army. He has therefore worked closely with his colleague, General Xu Yong who also served in this Group Army (equivalent of a Corps).

Once again, these postings (and exercises) have nothing to do with Ladakh, though amusingly,the Commander of the Xinjiang Military District is also named 'Yong'. 
General Peng Yong is born in Lulong County, Hebei Province. He joined the Communist Party in 1971, and graduated from Shijiazhuang Army Academy Long-Distance Education Program with a Bachelor Degree in 1998. From 2004 to 2011, he was Commander of 47th Group Army of PLA, under the Lanzhou MR. Since 2011, he is Commander-in-Chief, Xinjiang Military District. Unlike, his colleague in Tibet, he is Member of the 18th Central Committee. 
He is directly responsible of the operations in Ladakh.
By the way, 'Yong' means 'brave, courageous, fierce' in Chinese. Let us hope that both face many 'Singhs' on the other other side of the LAC.

Chengdu Military Region
Chinese Air Force holds night flying exercises in Tibet
July 23, 2013
BEIJING: China's Air Force has conducted high-altitude night flying exercises at Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet region that borders India.
Photographs of helicopters participating in the exercises at Lhasa airport, located about 500 km from the Indian border, were issued today by state-run Xinhua news agency.
The Chinese military regularly holds exercises for its troops in the Himalayan region to get them acclimatised to mountain warfare.
Last year, the People's Liberation Army held its "first ground to air military exercise" in the Tibetan plateau. The wargame involved scores of fighter jets, hundreds of battle tanks and a large number of ground troops.
'Unwise to let isolated incidents to affect China-India ties'
Amid reports of frequent incursions by Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Chinese state media said it was "unwise" to let the "isolated incidents" to affect the "promising" China-India ties.
While the Chinese foreign and defence ministries were yet to respond to queries relating to the fresh reports of incursions in Ladakh sector, a commentary in the state-run Xinhua news agency accused the Indian media of putting out "sensational reports", "harming" the bilateral relations.
"The disputes, a historical hangover, were not created in one day, neither will they be resolved overnight. It is unwise to let isolated incidents along the border to negatively affect the promising China-India relationship," it said.
Observers say "isolated incidents" remark referring to the recurring incidents of incursions is the first comment from Beijing on the issue since the first intrusion reported on April 15 at the Daulat Beig Oldi (DBO) in Ladakh sector.
So far the Chinese foreign ministry's comments on the incident confined to assertions that the Chinese troops are patrolling their side of the border or played down the incidents saying that the over all situation at the border is peaceful and both the countries signed several agreements to maintain peace and trust building between the two militaries.
Significantly the Xinhua commentary was timed to coincide with the talks between officials of the two countries on incursion issue being held in New Delhi today.
"Looking back on Indian media hype about Chinese border intrusions, one has to admit such sensational reports are indeed harmful to the China-India relationship," it said.
"Such reports have only served to further sow misunderstandings between Indians and Chinese even at a time when their leaders are working hard to manage their differences and to build a constructive relationship that can benefit both sides".
It also highlighted the repeated assertions by Beijing and New Delhi that they are committed to maintaining peace and stability along the border before the issues are completely resolved.
Indian media traditionally focused heavily on the border disputes between New Delhi and Beijing, are now asserting again that Chinese troops have crossed the "border" between the two countries, it said.

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