China upgrading air defence in Tibet to counter 'India threat', says state media

File photo of J-10 fighter jet. Photograph:( Others )

WION Web Team Beijing, China Feb 22, 2018, 02.29 AM (IST)

China is upgrading air defence of its Western Theatre Command, which looks after the security along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), to “confront any threat from India”, an official media report quoted a military expert as saying.

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According to Global Times, the photographs show a J-10 and J-11 fighter jets conducting aerial combat training exercises on February 13, two days before Spring Festival and it cited Chinese military expert and TV commentator Song Zhongping as saying it was significant for China to strengthen control of airspace over the mountainous region.

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"Strengthening the 3.5-generation fighter jets or even stationing more advanced fighters in the Western Theatre Command has been urgent for the PLA," Song said, adding that such upgrades have been usually first conducted in south and east theatre commands.

The Jets are attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Western Theatre Command, the website of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said.

The Western Theatre Command is mainly responsible for mountain warfare at the border area with India. 

The LAC stretches to 3,488-km including the high altitude Tibetan plateau.

India and China have been trying to reset their ties after last year’s 73-day standoff between the two sides at Dokalam in Sikkim section of the boundary.

Considering that India possesses 3rd-generation fighter jets, China’s stationing of its 3.5-generation jets would be able to deal with any current threat from India, Song Zhongping said.

Since he took over power in 2013, President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has been pressing the PLA to step up live firing drills to win local wars. 

(With inputs from Agencies)