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China deploys new tank in Tibet, near India border

By
Elizabeth Shim
China is expanding its military presence in Tibet with a new tank, according to state news media. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
China is expanding its military presence in Tibet with a new tank, according to state news media. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

June 12 (UPI) -- China deployed its latest military tank, the Xinqingtan, in an area of Tibet near the Indian border.

Chinese news site Guancha reported Monday Beijing is increasing military buildup in Tibet in a show of force designed to deter the Indian military.

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An integrated brigade of the People's Liberation Army in Tibet deployed an unidentified number of the new tanks, according Chinese state-owned television network CCTV.

Guancha stated the Xinqingtan's technology and firepower is "far more advanced" than the Russia-made T-90S tanks deployed by India.

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The deployment of the tanks expands the Tibet-based unit and has increased their fighting power, the news site reported.

Light-duty main battle tanks with commensurate firepower are also being tested in Tibet, but the report did not provide details on the tanks, including whether they were the VT-5, a light-duty tank Beijing displayed at the Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong Province in November.

The Xinqingtan includes a 105-millimeter tank gun, a 35-millimeter grenade launcher and a 12.7-millimeter machine gun.

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The guns have already been adjusted to a high angle so they are ready for mountain operations, according to the report.

The tank is relatively light at 35-38 tons. It produces 1,000 horsepower on an 8V150-type engine.

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In 2016, Beijing was placing more missiles and fighter jets along the India border, according to Kanwa Asian Defense, a news site specializing in military developments.

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In December, Kanwa quoted sources in the Indian navy and air force who said Chinese troops have placed fighter jets, the Jian-11, the Jian-10 and the Kongjing-500, in rotational deployment.

In Hotan, an oasis town in southwestern Xinjiang, the country has been deploying the J-10 and the strategic bomber H-6K.

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