By World Bulletin/News Desk
Chinese president Xi Jinping has promoted three People’s Liberation Army (PLA) generals known to be close to him and also asked his troops to “improve their combat readiness and sharpen their ability to win a regional war in the age of information technology”, The Times of India reported.
Reports said the promotions were ordered after XI summoned 15 top generals to Beijing on Sunday and spoke to them in PLA chief Fang Fenghui’s presence. Significantly, Xi also said military commanders should “have a better understanding of international and domestic security situations”.
“All PLA forces should follow the instructions of President Xi Jinping, also chairman of the central military commission (CMC), and update their operations to meet new goals and missions set by the CMC,” Xinhua news agency quoted an official statement as saying.
The statement highlighted the president’s unhappiness with the military and underlined the need “to improve efficiency of military command under new circumstances”.
Chinese President earlier urged faster development of advanced new military equipment to help build a strong army, state media reported, as the country steps up an ambitious modernisation plan that has rattled nerves across the region.
Xi said that military reforms should be “guided by the objective of building a strong army”, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Thursday.
“Advanced weaponry is the embodiment of a modern army and a crucial support for national security and rejuvenation,” it cited Xi as saying.
“Equipment systems are now in a period of strategic opportunities and at a key point for rapid development.”
Xi has been pushing to strengthen the fighting ability of China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces as they project power across disputed waters in the East and South China Seas.
China has developed emerging stealth fighter technology, anti-satellite missiles and now has one aircraft carrier in operation and is planning more.
Defence spending this year is set to rise by 12.2 percent to 808.2 billion yuan ($131.3 billion), a number many governments and analysts say is not representative of the country’s true defence outlays.
Xi said that new weapons must be “innovative, practical and forward-thinking to meet the demands of actual combat and fill in the weak spots of China’s existing equipment”.
“Military officers at all levels should play a leading role and use actual combat to guide soldiers to improve their capacity to operate weapons,” he said.
However the country’s armed forces, the world’s largest, came under criticism earlier this year from serving and retired officers and state media, who questioned whether they were too corrupt to win a war.
Part of Xi’s much-vaunted campaign against deep-rooted graft has targeted the military.
In October, the government said one of China’s most senior former military officers had confessed to taking “massive” bribes in exchange for help in promotions.