About 151 warplanes soared through a Beijing sky that had changed colour overnight from grey to blue, thanks to an army of Chinese weather modifiers.
The jets and helicopters swarmed over the capital’s main east-west axis lined with palaces, luxury hotels and malls to fly toward Tiananmen Square, where President Hu Jintao — wearing a high-collared Mao suit — led the celebration of 60 years of China’s communist rule.
“The Chinese are confident and capable... a socialist China faces the future standing tall and firm in the East,” said Hu.
On the avenue stood China’s biggest-ever weapons display — rows of shiny main battle tanks, cruise missiles, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, amphibious assault vehicles, unmanned aerial drones and 52 new weapons.
Ninety per cent of the weapons were new. All were made-in-China.
“Our weapons may be less advanced than India’s but China is proud we design and make them ourselves,” Shanghai-based Shen Dingli, executive dean of Fudan University, told HT. “India has to learn from China to be more independent in making defence equipment. We can peacefully compete.”
The analyst’s view hinted at what the Chinese establishment propagates. India’s foreign policy is “undermined” by weapons imports from the US, France and Russia, he said. However, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says China bought 11 per cent of the world’s arms imports compared to India’s 7 per cent in 2004-08.
Beijingers stayed indoors under orders not to open windows or balconies along the parade route. Hu rode an open-roof black limo (made-in-China) to inspect the parade after a 60-gun salute. “Comrades, you are working hard,” he shouted.
Hu urged the army to “carry forward a glorious tradition and build up military strength”.