Amid Doklam standoff, Xi says Chinese Army can defeat ‘invading enemies’ (Third Lead)

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Beijing, July 30 (IANS) Amid the military stand-off with India in Doklam, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday said the Chinese army is capable of defeating invading enemies.

Addressing the military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army at Zhurihe in Inner Mongolia, Xi, who was clad in military fatigues, said he wanted the world’s largest army to be the strongest to safeguard global peace.

“I firmly believe that our gallant military has both confidence and ability to defeat all invading enemies,” said Xi, who commands the world’s largest army of 2.3 million.

China’s state-run media, experts, and former diplomats have denounced as “invasion” the presence of Indian troops in Doklam, which is disputed between Bhutan and China.

In June, Indian troops had stopped the PLA from constructing a road in Doklam, which is also claimed by its ally Bhutan. This triggered stand-off, which is now in its second month.

China has repeatedly asked India to pull back troops and threatened military conflict if New Delhi didn’t do so.

In his speech at the parade, which was held for the first time on Army Day since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Xi said the PLA was combat-ready.

“Our military has the confidence and ability to write a new chapter in building a strong military and make new contributions towards the realisation of China’s dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and safeguarding world peace,” he said in the address aired by the state media.

Inspecting the troops from an open-top jeep at China’s largest military base Zhurihe, Xi said the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people all take pride in the PLA.

Salute to you, comrades,” Xi called out to the soldiers from the jeep.

“Hail to you, chairman,” they replied.

Xi is the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, the PLA’s controlling body.

More than 12,000 service personnel from the army, navy, air force, armed police as well as the newly-formed rocket force and strategic support troops, took part in the parade.

Formations of conventional missiles, nuclear missiles and missiles for both nuclear and conventional strikes were displayed to show the country’s capacity to deter, fight, restrain and win battles, said China’s official news agency Xinhua.

Cutting-edge weapons like J-20 stealth aircraft, 8X8 all-terrain vehicles, radar-and-communication jamming drones and solid-fuel intercontinental missiles were among about 600 pieces of military hardware on show.

“Officers and soldiers, you must unswervingly stick to the fundamental principle and system of the Party’s absolute leadership over the Army, always listen to and follow the Party’s orders, and march to wherever the Party points to,” said Xi.

After the Communist Party, the PLA is China’s second most powerful institution.

“The world is not all at peace, and peace must be safeguarded,” he said Xi.

In 2015, Xi, who favours a lean army, announced a reduction of 300,000 troops. This month, an online news portal run by the PLA said the present force of 2.3 million will be whittled down to below 1 million.

The PLA was founded on August 1, 1927 by the Communists against the Kuomintang regime. The Communists eventually won the civil war, leading to the birth of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

–IANS

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