Beijing: The Chinese military on Thursday said it has conducted trials of a new lightweight battle tank in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet near the Indian border.
The 35 tonne tank has carried out trials in the plains of Tibet, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesman Col Wu Qian said at a media briefing. He was responding to questions about media reports that the PLA had carried out an exercise involving a new type of 35 tonne lightweight tank in Tibet.
When asked whether it is targeted against India, the PLA spokesman said, “The purpose is to test the parameters of the equipment and is not targeted against any country."
Though Wu did not provide details of the new lightweight battle tank, Chinese news site Guancha recently reported that the PLA had tested the tank named Xinqingtan, in an area of Tibet near the Indian border.
An integrated brigade of the PLA in Tibet deployed an unidentified number of the new tanks, US-based United Press International news agency quoted the Chinese state-owned television network CCTV as saying.
Guancha stated the Xinqingtan’s technology and firepower is “far more advanced" than the Russia-made T-90S tanks deployed by India.
The deployment of the tanks expands the Tibet-based unit and has increased their fighting power, the news site reported.
The Xinqingtan includes a 105 millimeter tank gun, a 35 millimeter grenade launcher and a 12.7 millimeter machine gun.
The guns have already been adjusted to a high angle so they are ready for mountain operations, the report said.
The tank is relatively light at 35-38 tonnes. It produces 1,000 horsepower on an 8V150-type engine, the report said.