BEIJING – The Chinese military has begun testing the use of drones for cargo deliveries for its troops amid an ongoing Himalayan border standoff with India.
On Thursday, Chinese state television CCTV broadcast images showing Tibet Military Command troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) loading food, water, and medicines into drones for distribution to soldiers conducting military drills at an altitude of 4,500 meters (14,764 feet).
Military analyst Song Zhongping told the Global Times newspaper on Friday that the video showed that China is preparing for further potential military conflicts while continuing to engage in military and diplomatic negotiations with India.
CCTV released the images hours before the foreign ministers of China and India reached an agreement in Moscow for the de-escalation of tensions between the two nuclear powers along the border.
The video shows a logistics support operation using both ground and aerial means, a logistical combination that could prove to be vital if the PLA’s soldiers entered into conflict, according to Song.
The expert believes that such logistics are key for soldiers’ performance in military conflicts, and logistics support can be very difficult in complex plateau areas.
The operations shown in the video will improve PLA’s combat effectiveness, according to Song.
Chinese and Indian armies have been accusing each other of occupying contested territories, including the disputed Himalayan boundary in the Ladakh sector, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a brawl in June.
The military tension between the two nuclear-powered neighbors began in May with the two armies accusing each other of provocative trespassing on the disputed border surrounding the high-altitude Pangong Tso saline water lake in Ladakh that houses the highest military landing strip in the world.
Both sides have since rushed in tens of thousands of troops along with artillery, tanks, and fighter jets near the frontier in Ladakh, which is at the risk of a three-front nuclear tension since it borders China on one side and Pakistan on the other.