Beijing: China`s 2.3 million-strong PLA, the world`s largest standing Army, on Thursday marked its 86th anniversary showcasing some of its latest weaponry in a display evoking its growing military might.
From a revolutionary force under the leadership of the ruling Communist Party of China, the People`s Liberation Army emerged as a major military force and fought a number of wars with the country`s neighbours after 1949, including the 1962 war with India.
It is also one of the rare militaries which functioned under the Communist Party despite being a national Army.
With 2.3 million personnel, the PLA has risen from humble origins to a strong power corresponding with more than three decades of the country`s economic boom, state-run Xinhua news agency said in a commentary.
It is now equipped with a newly-commissioned aircraft carrier, while other advanced weaponry, including a J-20 stealth fighter jet and large military transport aircraft, are in development.
The increased military power of the PLA has stirred up unease among some of China`s neighbouring countries and the traditional power -- the United States, the commentary said.
The PLA Air Force has been opening up to the world`s media, in an attempt to allay concerns over China`s growing military might.
To mark the occasion, the PLA opened up its air defence brigade near Xi`an, in Western China`s Shaanxi Province and displayed some of its new generation aircraft.
National defence and the building of the Army is at a new starting point, facing precious opportunities and a complicated domestic and exterior security environment as well, the PLA Daily said today.
At a reception to celebrate the 86th anniversary yesterday, Minister of National Defence Chang Wanquan said China will firmly pursue a path of peaceful development and enhance military cooperation with foreign countries to contribute to world peace and development.
"China will unremittingly follow a national defence policy that is defensive in nature," Chang added.