In what may cause concern in Indian circles, China has set up an unmanned automatic weather observation station in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) near the country’s border with India to provide meteorological support to its army in the event of a conflict.

The station in Yumai township will eliminate a blind area of meteorological services. It will also provide strong meteorological support for national defence and further promote border development as well as military-civilian integration.

“The station can observe six factors, including air temperature, air pressure, wind speed, wind direction, humidity and precipitation, with more accuracy than before,” Tashi Norbu, a technician in charge of the station, told China’s leading English daily ‘’Global Times’’

“Yumai is at the border. The station could provide data to help with transportation and communication in national defence. It could also offer support during regional live-fire conflicts,” Tashi said.

With nine households and 32 residents, Yumai is China’s smallest township in terms of population. It is located in the southern foothills of the Himalayas and affected by the monsoon climate of the Indian Ocean.

“We are now receiving accurate information sent by meteorological departments every day. The station is necessary as it fills the gaps in meteorological and hydrological information, which could support our development,” Dawa, the secretary of the Communist Party of China’s Yumai committee, was quoted as saying.

The only road linking Yumai and the outside world has been under construction since 2017. More weather stations will be set up when the road is completed, Dawa said.

The construction of the station began in early 2018. However, due to atrocious weather in the area, the construction was completed in June and the first weather data was transmitted from the station on 22 June.

Regional weather is an important factor that could influence the take-off and landing of aircraft and the launch of missiles during a battle. The small weather observation station could provide such information, Song Zhongping, a military expert, said.

Grasping accurate weather information could help seize good opportunities in the battles, Song added.