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China steps up military drills in Tibet

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Pilots from China's PLA Air Force take part in a flight training over the plateau area in Tibetan Autonomous Region in May, 2012. A Chinese MoD/Xinuha photo.

BEIJING (PTI): Amid a raging dispute with Japan over islands in East China Sea, Chinese army has scaled up its military exercises on all fronts including aerial drills by its air force in Tibet as well as by Special Forces.

Special operations forces from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) have begun an annual set of military drills aimed at training reconnaissance capabilities and survival skills, state-run CCTV reported.

While its naval forces in the East China Sea practiced capture of islands, state media carried picture of Air Force planes flying over Himalayas in a formation.

The photo was carried as part of a "weekly review" of military pictures.

"PLA heavy fighters cruise with live ammunition over Himalayas," it said without mention of any exercises.

In July this year, the PLA fighter jets practised night exercises in Tibet.

The state television reported that Special Forces from the Jinan Military Region conducted exercises on an island in the Yellow Sea.

During the week of training, soldiers will only carry weapons and scouting equipment. They will need to find clean water and food on their own.

The Special Forces will also undergo training to treat poisonous bites from snakes, insects, and other injuries.

The week-long drills aim to test the forces' land and sea capabilities and their ability to survive in harsh environments, the report said.

The scale of military exercises by PLA's army, navy and air force has gone up after recent joint military drills held by the US and Japanese military.

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