Beijing: China on Tuesday launched its largest
ever tactical military exercise, involving 50,000
heavily-armored troops to improve the PLA`s long-distance
The exercise, which is to last for two months, has
been named "Stride-2009" and aims to improve PLA`s capacity of
long-range projection. It will involve a division each from
the Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan and Guangzhou regional military
commands, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
"In the unprecedented exercise, one of the PLA`s major
objectives will be to improve its capacity of long-range
projection," the report said, citing the general staff of the
People`s Liberation Army, which is the world`s largest
military with 2.3 million soldiers.
"Unlike previous annual tactical exercises, the army
divisions and their air units will be deployed in unfamiliar
areas far from their garrison training bases by civilian rail
and air transport," it said.
The division from northeast Shenyang Military Command
will be transported to northwest Lanzhou Military Command.
Troops from east Jinan Military Command and south Guangzhou
Military Command will be exchanged.
The General Staff Headquarters, which have been
preparing for the exercise for three months, will coordinate
with the civilian airlines to use passenger and cargo flights
to complement Air Force transport.
Western nations, particularly the United States, have
been concerned with China`s military build-up, especially in
the light of annual double-digit growth in defence spending
over most of the last 20 years.