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Beijing shakes up military top brass

Sending a signal that the stage was set for leadership change in early November, China on Thursday appointed a new army chief of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and announced the names of several other senior officers for top positions. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

world Updated: Oct 26, 2012 00:35 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Sending a signal that the stage was set for leadership change in early November, China on Thursday appointed a new army chief of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and announced the names of several other senior officers for top positions.

The new appointments come a day after an earlier reshuffle of the top military brass during which a new air force chief was also announced.

For the civilian leadership it's been traditionally crucial to ensure there's no sign of any internecine struggle for power within the vast army and between the political hierarchy and the armed forces. The government doesn't comment on the new appointments but the reshuffle could be seen as a sign that civilian CPC leadership was in control of China's powerful military.

The Chinese armed forces have seen huge upgrades in its cache of weapons, technology and expertise in the last decades; it recently launched its first aircraft carrier and is reported to be developing a stealth fighter aircraft.

According to agency reports, the appointments were long anticipated as part of the shift to power under Xi Jinping, expected to be taking over from Hu Jintao as President.