China has raised the rank of Tibet Military Command’s authority level in an effort to strengthen its military presence in the region and for more combat assignments.
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 People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Global Times reported on Friday.
“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 said.
“After the (recent) military reform, most of the provincial military commands are now under the control of the newly established National Defence Mobilisation 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 said.
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 will still hold a very important position, the source said, adding that the Xinjiang Military Command’s political rank may also be raised in the future.
“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 said.
Currently, the Tibet Military Command is under the leadership of China’s Western Theater Command, the headquarters of which is in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
“After the military reform, the Tibet Military Command’s priority is the management of military resources, as well as the region’s national defence mobilisation,” 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 added.