PLA 90th anniversary is new start for China and the world

By Rabi Sankar Bosu
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 31, 2017
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A flag guard formation consisting of officers and soldiers from the army, air force, navy and rocket force of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) attends a military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA at Zhurihe training base in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, July 30, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

"Enjoying peace is a bliss for the people, while protecting peace is the responsibility of the People's Liberation Army."

- President Xi Jinping (July 30, 2017, Zhurihe training base in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region)

The Chinese people will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Aug. 1, 2017, which gives hope to all the oppressed people of the world.

It's an important commemoration for China, because the heroic PLA is the pride of the Chinese people, and indeed of the world in safeguarding world peace.

The PLA, under the supreme leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has grown in strength and become more modernized and professional through nine decades of development.

Following the CPC's thoughts and command, it has emerged as stronger, more peacefully-inclined military backed by cutting-edge weaponry gaining the utmost trust, confidence, love and respect of the CPC and the people of China.

The PLA went through a long revolutionary process. Its origins can be traced back to the Nanchang Uprising beginning Aug. 1, 1927. As this was the first major Kuomintang-Communist engagement, the date was chosen as the PLA's birthdate.

Before and even during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), the military went under the generic title of "Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army", while certain brigades were separately referred to as the Eighth Route Army or the New Fourth Army, etc. All military forces under CPC leadership were officially named the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Nov. 11, 1948.

Undoubtedly, in the past 90 years, the PLA has, under CPC leadership, fought courageously in fulfilling its mission and made indelible historic contributions to China's liberation cause, socialist construction and reform drive, as well as in safeguarding national sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity and development interests.

In addition, PLA personnel have actively participated in UN peace keeping operations around the world in line with the national commitment to become a responsible country in world affairs.

Today's military is vastly different from its humble origins, when it had only 20,000 soldiers. Ninety years on, it boasts two million service personnel, making it the world's largest. China is second only to the United States in terms of defense budget, currently at US$152 billion.

Since Xi Jinping took over as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China and became president of China in November 2012 and March 2013 respectively, the PLA has been undergoing a monumental transformation to make it more integrated and flexible to fight a modern war.

President Xi Jinping is the prime reformer behind the historic overhaul. Since late 2012, the military has been capitalizing China's achievements in science and technology to help modernize its weapons and equipment guided by the military strategy developed under President Xi.

The past three years have seen rapid progress. During China's epic V-Day parade in September 2015, the whole world got a glimpse of China's world-class equipment, such as the Dongfeng-5B intercontinental strategic missiles, designed to carry nuclear warheads, and Dongfeng-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles.

Since then, the Type-99A main battle tank, J-20 stealth fighter jet, missile destroyers like Jinan and Yinchuan, and the frigate Yantai, have emerged, to name a few.

On June 28, the biggest latest- generation destroyer weighing 10,000 tonnes was launched as part of China's plan to become a global naval power. The new destroyer is equipped with new air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons. This ties in with the opening of the country's first overseas naval base in Djibouti near the Gulf of Aden on July 11, 2017.

The PLA's 90th anniversary comes "in the midst of China's fundamental military reform and strategic transformation." In September, 2015, President Xi announced demobilization of 300,000 troops of the 2.3 million-strong force. This is balanced by reforms enabling China to maintain its commitment to peace operations and relief efforts in dealing with major disasters, either domestic or abroad.

At the same time, changes are taking place in force balance, with reductions in infantry personnel but increases in the size of other services, including navy and missile forces.

While inspecting a massive military parade at the Zhurihe training base in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on July 30, 2017, President Xi said: "The PLA has the confidence and capability to build a stronger military and make a new and greater contribution to realizing China's two centenary goals and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, and safeguarding world peace."

He also ordered the PLA to follow the absolute leadership of the CPC.

The PLA is the embodiment China's socialist ideals, sovereignty, reform and quest for progress in all human endeavors. It is hoped, the PLA with strong ideals and beliefs, great tradition and bravery in combat having gone through 90 years of glory, will make great strides in building a prosperous China and a strong army under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core. Happy 90th birthday to the PLA!

Rabi Sankar Bosu, secretary of New Horizon Radio Listeners' Club, West Bengal, India

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