China raises Tibet Military Command’s power rank

By Kou Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2016/5/13 0:23:01

By raising the Tibet Military Command's authority level and putting it under the jurisdiction of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) ground forces, China continues to strengthen its military presence in the autonomous region and aims to allow the military command to shoulder more combat assignments, analysts said. 

The Tibet Military Command's political rank will be elevated to one level higher than its counterpart provincial-level military commands, and will come under the leadership of the PLA Army, China Youth Daily reported on Thursday, adding that the promotion marks a "new journey for the Tibet military command's construction."

"The elevation of the authority level is not only an improvement for the troops' designation, but also an expansion of their function and mission," Zhao Zhong, deputy director of the Political Work Department of the Tibet Military Command was quoted as saying by China Youth Daily.

"After the [recent] military reform, most of the provincial military commands are now under the control of the newly established National Defense Mobilization Department of the Central Military Commission, and their priority is to the region's militia reserves and conscription. The Tibet Military Command, on the other hand, is under the leadership of the Chinese ground forces, which suggests that the command may undertake some kind of military combat mission in the future," a source close to the matter told the Global Times.

Due to the change in China's military structure, the importance of most of the provincial military commands will be diminished, but the Tibet Military Command still holds a very important position, the source said, adding that the Xinjiang Military Command's political rank may also be raised in the future.

Military commands in Tibet and Xinjiang have always enjoyed special political status in the past and the promotion in rank this time reflects a continuation of China's policy, the source said.

"The promotion shows China is paying great attention to the Tibet Military Command, which will significantly improve the command's ability to manage and control the region's military resources, as well as provide better preparation for combat," Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times Thursday.

Currently, the Tibet Military Command is under the leadership of China's Western Theater Command, the headquarters of which is in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

Better military preparation

"After the military reform, the Tibet Military Command's priority is the management of military resources, as well as the region's national defense mobilization," Song said.

The Tibet Military Command bears great responsibility to prepare for possible conflicts between China and India, and currently it is difficult to secure all the military resources they need, Song said.

Border disputes between China and India have not been completely resolved. In April, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said China reacted positively toward setting up a military hotline with India on border security after holding talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in Beijing.

"Military action in the Tibet Military Command requires specialist mountain skills and long-range capabilities, which need the deployment of special military resources," Song said, adding that the elevation will secure better and more effective combat preparedness when needed.

"The promotion of the command's authority level shows the amount of attention China places on the defense of its southwestern borders. The higher the authority level is, the more military resources the command can mobilize," he further noted.

"China's military reform has been focusing on the construction of the Western Theater Command, as well the military deployment and national defense mobilization in the region. As a key part of the Western Theater Command, the elevation in rank of the Tibet Military Command will also boost its combat abilities," said a Beijing-based military expert, who requested anonymity.


Posted in: Military

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