First China-Mongolia joint army drill wrapped up with live-action featuring 100+ armored vehicles

Global Times

By Liu Xuanzun Published: May 20, 2024 10:31 PM

As the armies of China and Mongolia on Sunday wrapped up their first joint drill with a live-action exercise featuring more than 100 armored vehicles, experts said on Monday that the large-scale exercise could be just a start for more similar drills to in the future.

The full-procedure, full-element live-action comprehensive exercise of the China-Mongolia Steppe Partner-2024 army joint drill commenced on Sunday morning, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on the day.

The exercise was themed “tackling activities by illegal armed groups” and aimed at honing interoperability between the two armies, CCTV reported.

During the live-action exercise, various types of drones, including hand-thrown fixed-wing drones and rotor-wing drones, were launched to conduct reconnaissance, while air defense teams seized vantage points and carried out attacks on mock hostile targets in the air with man-portable air defense missiles, according to the CCTV report.

Under the artillery fire support from Type 05 self-propelled gun-mortars, two assault teams featuring Type 08 infantry fighting vehicles and Type 11 wheeled assault guns moved forward from the left and right wings.

More than 100 armored vehicles from the two sides successfully breached the mock hostile defense line, as over half of the key firing points were destroyed in the process.

After multiple waves of attack, the Chinese-Mongolian troops surrounded the mock enemies, before completely eliminating them with multiple types of weapons, CCTV said.

“This is the first time the Chinese and Mongolian armies have organized a joint drill, and it focused on making exchanges and learning from each other, honing capabilities through realistic combat, and safeguarding regional peace and stability,” said Ju Qiqi, the commander of the Chinese participating forces, as quoted in the CCTV report.

The two sides jointly planned, commanded and operated in the exercise, enhanced the capability of jointly cracking down illegal armed groups, and further deepened the two militaries’ strategic mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation, Ju said.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times on Monday that the participation of more than 100 armored vehicles in the exercise marked an unprecedented scale.

China and Mongolia share a long border line, and their joint exercises on countering illegal armed groups, which are categorized as non-traditional security threats, are conducive to peace and stability in the region, another Chinese military expert told the Global Times, requesting anonymity.

Experts also noted that in the exercise, China was able to transport a large number of heavy equipment to Mongolia rapidly through railway, meaning that should instabilities occur in the vicinity of China, China can provide help.

The Steppe Partner-2024 joint exercise was launched on May 12 in Dornogovi Province, Mongolia, according to official reports. The Chinese participating forces set out from China via railway on May 6 and arrived at destination on May 9.

In November 2023, China and Mongolia held the Border Defense Cooperatoin-2023 joint exercise in the border region in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region under the topic of stopping illegal criminal activities along the borders, in a move to improving the two countries’ border defense troops’ capabilities in jointly curbing border smuggling and terrorist activities and safeguarding border peace and stability, the Chinese Defense Ministry said at the time.

Analysts said that the Steppe Partner-2024 joint army exercise is a further development in China-Mongolia defense cooperation, and it is possible that similar exercises will become routine based on developments in bilateral ties as well as domestic and international situations.


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