Chinese President Xi Jinping Monday asked the People’s Liberation Army to be combat ready to win a “regional war” and make sure that all decisions from the central leadership are strictly followed.
“Headquarters of all PLA forces should improve their combat readiness and sharpen their ability to win a regional war in the age of information technology,” Xi, who returned from India last week after a three-day visit, was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
“Headquarters of PLA forces must have absolute loyalty and firm faith in the Communist Party of China (CPC), guarantee a smooth chain of command and make sure all decisions from the central leadership are fully implemented,” said Xi, chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the General Secretary of the CPC. It is not yet clear why the emphasis was made on absolute loyalty.
Though this is not the first time that Xi has asked the PLA to be ready for a “regional war”, his statement assumes significance in the context of repeated incursions into Indian territory along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which cast a shadow during his visit. Xi’s directives come in the midst of a stand-off between the PLA and Indian troops in Chumar area in Ladakh region along the LAC.
The stand-off took a new turn Sunday with the PLA pitching seven tents well within the Indian territory and showing no signs of withdrawing from there.
Xi, 61, acquired the image of China’s most powerful leader after Deng Xiaoping as he headed the Presidency, the CPC and the military from day one of coming to power unlike his predecessor Hu Jintao. Since then, Xi has reshuffled the military postings of the generals loyal to him at the top and removed and prosecuted some top PLA generals for corruption.
On Sunday, General Fang Fenghui, PLA chief, said in a statement that all PLA forces follow the instructions of President Xi. Fang added that the forces should update their operations to meet new goals and missions set by the CMC. Meanwhile, in a meeting attended by Fang, the PLA chiefs of staff met in Beijing to discuss how to improve the efficiency of military command under new circumstances.