Xi Jinping asks People's Liberation Army to be ready for 'regional war'

Days after he returned from a visit to India, Chinese President Xi Jinping has directed the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to be combat ready to win a "regional war" while also demanding "absolute loyalty" from PLA's top brass.

Updated: Sep 23, 2014, 12:19 PM IST

Beijing: Days after he returned from a visit to India, Chinese President Xi Jinping has directed the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to be combat ready to win a "regional war" while also demanding "absolute loyalty" from PLA's top brass.

Xi directed the military leadership to make sure that all decisions from the central leadership are strictly followed and implemented. He also asked them to repose "firm faith" in the ruling Communist Party.

Xi, who is also the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said, “Headquarters of PLA forces must have absolute loyalty and firm faith in the Communist Party of China, guarantee a smooth chain of command and make sure all decisions from the central leadership are fully implemented."

"Headquarters of all People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces should improve their combat readiness and sharpen their ability to win a regional war in the age of information technology," Xi was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

All PLA forces have been asked to follow the instructions of President Xi and update their operations to meet new goals and missions set by the CMC, the report added.

While Xi's assertion is being seen as an attempt by the President to reassert his absolute authority over the Chinese leadership, the “regional war” emphasis has raised eyebrows in New Delhi as it comes at a time when Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a high-altitude military face-off at Chumar in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The standoff took a new turn on Sunday with the PLA pitching seven tents well within the Indian territory and showing no signs of withdrawing from the territory.

However, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunyin insisted on Monday that there was no need to have unnecessary suspicion over the border issue, while pointing out that President XI and Prime Minister Modi have reached an important consensus on politically resolving the border issue through friendly mechanism.

Xi, 61, acquired the image of China's most powerful leader after Deng Xiaoping, who succeeded Mao, 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 who is also the chairman of the CMC, which is the overall high command of the Chinese military.

Fang said the forces should update their operations to meet new goals and missions set by the CMC.

Meanwhile, the PLA chiefs of staff met in Beijing to discuss how to improve the efficiency of military command under new circumstances. Fang attended the meeting.

With agency inputs