Amid border row with India, China says military preparing for ‘next stage’

The Chinese military has conducted “major operations related to border defence” and strengthened training under combat conditions to build a modern armed force, the ruling Communist Party of China has said.
Members of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) prepare to lay flowers at the Monument to the People’s Heroes during a ceremony on Tiananmen Square to mark Martyrs Day, in Beijing, China on September 30, 2021. The Chinese military has conducted “major operations related to border defence” and strengthened training under combat conditions to build a modern armed force, the ruling Communist Party of China has said. (REUTERS)
Members of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) prepare to lay flowers at the Monument to the People’s Heroes during a ceremony on Tiananmen Square to mark Martyrs Day, in Beijing, China on September 30, 2021. The Chinese military has conducted “major operations related to border defence” and strengthened training under combat conditions to build a modern armed force, the ruling Communist Party of China has said. (REUTERS)
Updated on Nov 17, 2021 05:33 PM IST
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BySutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda

The Chinese military has conducted “major operations related to border defence” and strengthened training under combat conditions to build a modern armed force, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) has said in a key resolution released on Tuesday.

The resolution, only the third such one to be adopted in 100 years, on the CPC’s “achievements and historical experiences” also admitted that the party’s leadership over the military was “obviously lacking” for a period of time but has “made a fundamental turn for the better”.

The resolution was passed at the end of a four-day, closed-door meeting of the CPC’s central committee held in Beijing last week.

In what could be interpreted as a message to adversaries, the resolution said: “Devoting intense focus to combat effectiveness as the sole criterion that matters most and to their fundamental purpose of being able to fight and win, the people’s armed forces have strengthened their strategic forces and new-domain forces with new combat capabilities, and they have improved command systems and capacity for joint operations.”

Defence mobilisation has been improved and “greater unity” has been cultivated between the military and the government and between the military and civilians, it said.

The strong support for the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) transformation in the key document comes in the backdrop of the ongoing standoff with the Indian military along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

The document didn’t mention India but gave an indication of the PLA’s preparation for wars along its land and maritime borders.

“They (the military) have conducted major operations related to border defence, protecting China’s maritime rights, countering terrorism and maintaining stability, disaster rescue and relief, fighting Covid-19, peacekeeping and escort services, humanitarian assistance, and international military cooperation,” the document said.

“They have worked hard to address ‘peacetime ills’, vigorously strengthened training under combat conditions, and built strong, well-structured, and modern border defence, coastal defence, and air defence systems,” it added.

China currently has land border disputes with India and Bhutan and maritime disputes with several neighbours over conflicting claims in the South China Sea and with Japan in the East China Sea.

Troop training and battle preparedness have been bolstered across the board, the document said, adding that the military has accelerated efforts to modernise “…military theory, organisation, personnel, and weaponry and equipment and to integrate mechanisation with the application of information and smart technologies within the military”.

The CPC under the presidency of Xi Jinping, who is also chairperson of the Central Military Commission (CMC), has reversed the trend of the CPC’s weakening control of China’s vast armed forces, the resolution indicated.

“For a period of time, the party’s leadership over the military was obviously lacking. If this problem had not been completely solved, it would not only have diminished the military’s combat capacity, but also undermined the key political principle that the party commands the gun.”

The resolution named four top generals - Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, Fang Fenghui, and Zhang Yang - who have been punished for corruption during Xi’s ongoing reign.

They were “…thoroughly investigated and punished, and their negative influence was completely eliminated. With this, the political environment in the people’s armed forces has made a fundamental turn for the better”.

“…the people’s military has been through an all-around revolutionary restructuring under the firm leadership of the party in preparation for the next stage, while our defence capabilities have grown in step with our economic strength.”

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Thursday, December 09, 2021