Chinese president Xi Jinping
Chinese president Xi Jinping

Chinese president Xi Jinping on Monday ordered his country's army to be ready to 'act at any second', stressing on 'full-time combat readiness'.

He urged the armed forces to enhance training in real combat conditions to ensure readiness at all times, reported Xinhua.

'Act at any second'

"People's Liberation Army (PLA) must be ready to 'act at any second' and should remain on 'full-time combat readiness'," Xi stressed while adding, "Frontline frictions must be used to polish troop capabilities and training exercises need to incorporate technology."

In his first order of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in 2021 signed by Xi, he stressed strengthening military training in real combat conditions and the ability to win, reported Xinhua.

The PLA, as the military force of the Communist Party of China, must 'resolutely implement' the orders from the CMC and CPC, to mark the 100th anniversary of the party's founding on July 1 with 'excellent performances', he said.

He also suggested a 'substantial increase' in the use of technology in its exercises and to keep up with the latest developments in military and hi-tech knowledge.

These included the use of computer simulations and online combat in drills, as well as the exploration of more opportunities to add hi-tech and the internet - known as tech+ and web+ - in training, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).

"[The PLA must] increase the integration of new equipment, new forces and new combat realms into training and combat systems," he said.

Bitter experience with India

Last year, in June 2020, China had a bitter experience with India in the Galwan Valley where an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers perished. A violent face-off took place between the Indian and Chinese soldiers when a sizeable number of Chinese Army transgressed into the Indian side.

Since taking over as president and head of the CMC in late 2012, Xi has consistently pushed the PLA to be prepared for war. He also initiated a massive overhaul of the PLA in 2015 to modernise the Chinese military, planned for completion in 2020, reported SCMP.

Xi Jinping seeks greater control over China's military

On December 26, 2020, the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress rubber-stamped a revised National Defense Law, and it passed into legislation on the first day of this year. The casual observer might consider this yet another piece of meaningless legalese, but this law ushers in important changes first mooted two years ago.

Three of the existing law's articles were entirely removed, six were added, and 54 articles were amended. The new law now comprises 73 articles arranged in twelve chapters. A Central Military Commission (CMC) official said the revised National Defense Law "reflects that China's national defense adapts to the times, serves righteous purposes and involves and serves the whole people".

Official Chinese commentary listed seven significant changes in the law. First off, it listed that "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is established as the guiding thought over China's national defense activities". Mentioning it first can be construed as political correctness, something essential in an ideological system such as communism.

The commentary's second point is that the defense duties of state organs are "adjusted", and "contents regarding the system wherein the CMC chairman shall assume overall responsibility are added". However, this description conveniently glosses over critical alterations in authority and process.

The result is that the CMC, led by none other than Chairman Xi, now has full power to mobilize military and civilian assets to defend national interests both within China and abroad.

In order to checkmate the US in South China Sea, the PLA also stepped up exercises and air force fly-by operations targeting Taiwan during 2020.

(With inputs from ANI)

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