As the Chinese gear up for their Spring Festival, President Xi Jinping has asked the country’s military to be prepared against any provocative moves by the enemy. Xi has said PLA troops should enhance their combat readiness ahead of the Spring Festival holidays.
The Chinese President was inspecting the aviation division of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force stationed in Southwest China’s Guizhou Province ahead of the Spring Festival when he asked the troops to be combat-ready.
The country will be observing a seven-day national holiday from February 11 to 17 to mark the Chinese Lunar New Year. While it is a usual practice to step up security during holidays, Chinese experts told state-owned Global times that it is important to maintain a high level of alert during the festival time because history has shown that wars broke out on holidays or at night when troops let their guard down.
China has not been in a war in a long time but it remains prepared in the light of “provocative moves” by other militaries, especially when it is in conflicts with different countries due to its territorial claims — both on land and in the sea.
While it is locked in a border stand-off with the Indian Army in the Himalayas, it also has to keep an eye on Taiwan and the South China Sea due to its conflicts with the US and Japan. The US destroyer ‘USS John S. McCain’ had performed a “freedom of navigation operation” in the disputed South China Sea last week.
Unfazed by the US threats, Chinese warplanes undertook an exercise near Taiwan recently. Global Times reported that PLAAF warplanes entered “Taiwan’s self-proclaimed southwestern air defense identification zone for seven consecutive days since the start of February”.
Besides, the troops of the Xinjiang Military Command serving in high-altitude areas have received several new weapons and equipment as “holiday gifts”. According to China Central Television (CCTV) reports, PLA border defense troops have received 155mm-caliber vehicle-mounted howitzers, armored assault vehicles, and light tanks.
As per the analysts, Howitzer PCL-181 is China’s most advanced artillery gun with the longest range. Capable of operating in plateaus and harsh cold, it can shoot at 360 degrees, has high mobility, fast reaction time, and high accuracy.
While India and China have completed nine rounds of military-level talks on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control, China continues to deploy advanced equipment in border areas.
President Xi, who is also the chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, has repeatedly stressed the importance of combat readiness, training, and joint operations for the armed forces.
Earlier this year, Xi had signed the commission’s first order urging the armed forces to focus on improving their combat readiness and upgrading their training modules.
In October 2020, Xi had called on troops to “put all (their) minds and energy on preparing for war” during a visit to a military base in the southern province of Guangdong. He had told the soldiers to “maintain a state of high alert” and be “absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable.”