This paper traces China’s Tibet-specific civilian and military developments under General Secretary Xi Jinping. It details the changes in the civilian leadership and the construction of dual-use infrastructure and border development villages across Tibet. It also documents changes in the military leadership and key military installations while discussing patterns in PLA’s exercises in the region. It concludes with a brief assessment that these developments have made Tibet more stable internally than it was in the previous decade. There are ongoing issues on the border with India, but the recent military modernisation, the dual-use civilian infrastructure developments, and the ongoing PLA reforms aim to address the Indian threat – China’s secondary strategic direction.
Keywords: Tibet, People’s Liberation Army, Xi Jinping, Military, Civilian, Infrastructure, Military Exercises, Border Villages
Attribution: Suyash Desai, “Civilian and Military Developments in Tibet,” Takshashila Discussion Document, December 06, 2021, The Takshashila Institution.
About the Author
Suyash Desai is an Associate Fellow researching on China’s defence and foreign policies at The Takshashila Institution, Bangalore, India. He also publishes a weekly newsletter on the Chinese armed forces called The PLA Insight. His degrees are from Jawaharlal Nehru University (M Phil, International Organisations), Mumbai University (Masters, Political Science) and Indian School of International Law (Diploma, International Law). (Twitter: @suyash_desai).