Citing chinamil.com, the “People’s Daily” of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has reported as follows on January 8,2013:
“Recently, an armored regiment under the Xinjiang Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) organized dozens of armored vehicles to conduct drill on snow-capped plateau, in a bid to temper troops' combat capability under extreme cold condition. (chinamil.com.cn/Liu Yong)”
2. The report also carried two photographs of the exercise by the PLA Armoured Regiment. No other details are available. The report does not give the exact location of the exercise area.
3. The exercise raises the following questions of significance:
· Was the exercise connected with the internal security situation in the Xinjiang province which has been facing an anti-Beijing revolt by sections of the Uighurs, some of them allegedly belonging to the Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan which has bases in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA)?
· Was the exercise also connected with the recently-reported deployment of some Chinese security guards in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan to provide security to Chinese construction teams working on various projects in the GB area, including the upgradation of the Karakoram Highway?
· Were the exercises carried out in co-ordination with Pakistan?
4.These are questions which need probing by the Indian intelligence. (8-1-13)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat,Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For Chennai Studies.E-mail: email@example.com .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )