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China’s PLA is capable of defeating invading armies, says President Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping did not mention India but left no one in any doubt about who he was referring to as the Sino-India border standoff in Sikkim continues to linger.

world Updated: Jul 30, 2017 13:46 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China,Chinese military,Xi Jinping
In this image taken from video, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA .(AP)

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has the capability to defeat “invading” enemies and protect the country’s sovereignty, President Xi Jinping told China’s armed forces on Sunday amid the Sino-India military standoff at the Donglang area near the Sikkim border.

Addressing a military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of the PLA at the Zhurihe combat training base in Inner Mongolia, Xi in camouflage military fatigue, said, “The PLA has the confidence and capability to defeat all invading enemies and protect China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests.”

“The PLA also has the confidence and capability to build a stronger military and make new and greater contribution to realising China’s two centenary goals and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, and safeguarding world peace,” Xi was quoted as having said by the official media.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops perform a flag raising ceremony for the parade. ( AP )

There was no direct reference to India or any mention of the ongoing military standoff in the Donglang (Doklam) area in the excerpts of Xi’s speech released by the official media but the reference to “invading enemies” seems to be clear indication who the Chinese President was talking about.

China’s officials and media have repeatedly alleged that Indian troops had “invaded” and “illegally trespassed” into Chinese territory in Donglang by crossing an established border in Sikkim.

It was the first time that Xi presided over such a large military parade in the field, official news agency, Xinhua reported.

The Xinhua report added that Xi stood in an open-roof vehicle that drove slowly past troop formations to a backdrop of military music.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops march in formation as they arrive for the military parade. ( AP )

The report said: “Every few moments, Xi called out ‘Salute to you, comrades,’ to which assembled troops responded ‘Hail to you, chairman’.”

Xi alternated the greeting with “Comrades, thanks for your hard work,” to which soldiers replied “Serve the people!”

“Follow the Party! Fight to win! Forge exemplary conduct!” Servicemen and women exclaimed to Xi.

China has blamed India for the ongoing impasse, accusing Indian soldiers of trespassing and preventing Chinese soldiers from building a road in the region which is also claimed by Bhutan.

Beijing wants India to withdraw its troops from Donglang before the two sides can open talks.

New Delhi says the road, if built, will have serious security implications for India.

Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi has so far been the highest ranking Chinese politician to have directly blamed India on the military impasse.

Wang told reporters in Bangkok last week that the “problem was very straightforward” and that “even Indian officials publicly said that Chinese soldiers didn’t enter the Indian territory. In other words, Indian side admitted (crossing) into Chinese territory.”

The resolution of the problem is very “simple”, he said: “Indian troops have to go out”.

Xi’s mentioning of “invading enemies” is very significant as he is both general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

First Published: Jul 30, 2017 10:45 IST