China Deploys HJ-12 Anti-tank Missile in Tibet Days after Xi Jinping's High-profile Visit

Days after Chinese President Xi Jinping made a surprise visit to Tibet, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) deployed its HJ-12 man-portable anti-tank missile in Tibet. China's indigenously developed missile is being compared with the US-made Javelin.

Military Exercise was conducted in the Deep Plateau Region

According to Global Times, HJ-12 man-portable anti-tank missile is confirmed to be in service with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), after it made its debut in a recent exercise organized by the PLA Tibet Military Command. Reports suggest that the series of exercises were conducted deep in the plateau region.

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Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama waves to devotees outside the United Nations where the Human Rights Council is holding its 31st Session in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11, 2016 Reuters

China Says HJ-12 Can Destroy Any Main Battle Tank in the World

The Hongjian-12 is a fire-and-forget infrared homing anti-tank missile of China. It is also called as the Red Arrow 12 and was unveiled at the Eurosatory 2014 exhibition. The HJ-12 is a modern, third generation anti-tank missile developed by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO). Beijing says that the missile can destroy any main battle tank in the world.

Features of HJ-12

The missile can penetrate homogeneous steel armor as thick as 1,100mm protected by explosive reaction armor. The missile is equipped with advanced focal plane array infrared guidance system with lock-on before launch and fire-and-forget systems.

The HJ-12 also offers strong anti-jamming capabilities with more types of guidance systems, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times adding that the HJ-12 can launch precision strikes on hostile bunkers, fortifications and buildings.

Chinese amphibious tank
Representational Image Pixabay

Why it is being compared with Javelin of the US?

There are certain similarities like the 'fire and forget' principle, infrared guidance system and anti-tank capabilities between the US-made Javelin and Chinese HJ-12.

The FGM-148 Javelin is an American man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile. It uses automatic infrared guidance that allows the user to seek cover immediately after launch. The Javelin's HEAT warhead is capable of defeating modern tanks by hitting them from above where their armor is thinnest and is also useful against fortifications in a direct attack flight.

Deployment of HJ-12 Comes Days after Xi Jinping's Visit to Tibet

Xi Jinping made a surprise visit to Tibet- the first by a Chinese leader in more than 30 years. One of the reasons of his visit was to mark 70 years of China's annexation of Tibet. He inspected key projects and sites that are barely 16 kilometers away from the Line of Actual Control with India. Xi Jinping wanted to show India and the rest of the world that he is in complete control of Tibet and its borders.

In recent years, the CCP has made moves to tighten its grip on Tibet. The borders are being militarized, thousands of soldiers have been deployed. From re-education camps to the destruction of places of worship, China is constantly dominating the region.

CCP keeps a tab on potential defectors by not granting passports to many Tibetans. Dragon also wants Tibetans to prove their loyalty to the party. Intelligence reports show China has even made it "mandatory" for each Tibetan family to send at least one young male member for recruitment in the PLA in some areas like the Ngari Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).