Jinping Rejigs Military HQ, Tightens Grip on World’s Largest Force
Jinping has made changes to his military. New agencies & departments have been added, among other additions.
New Structure, New Commissions
- 15 new agencies under Central Military Commission.
- Discipline inspection.
- Politics & law, science & technology general office.
- Formation of five new divisions: administration, auditing, international cooperation, reform, organisational structure and strategic planning.
- Six new departments: joint staff, political work, logistical support, equipment development, training and national defence.
- Retrenchment of three lakh military force to make it ‘lean and mean’.
- Renaming the strategic missile force as PLA Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force.
- Integration of area commands looking after India and Pakistan.
In a major military reform, Chinese President Xi Jinping has reorganised four army headquarters by replacing them with 15 new agencies under the Central Military Commission (CMC) headed by him, tightening his control over the world’s largest force.
State-run news agency Xinhua reported Xi, who is also the chief of the ruling Communist Party of China, met the new chiefs of each agency when he described the reshuffle as “a breakthrough” and called the new leadership system “a crucial step” toward a stronger military.
Currently China has four army headquarters – staff, politics, logistics and armaments.
This is part of major reforms initiated by Xi to revamp the 2.3 million-strong People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Sixty-four-year-old Xi is widely regarded as the most powerful Chinese leader in recent decades after Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping as he consolidated his power base heading the troika of President, CPC General Secretary and Chief of Military.
The reforms included renaming of the strategic missile force as PLA Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force to provide proper electronic and cyber intelligence backup for precision missiles strikes during war and elevated their status as independent force along with army, navy and airforce.
China has seven military area commands in Jinan, Beijing, Nanjing, Chengdu, Shenyang, Lanzhou and Guangzhou.
Chengdu looked after security of India’s Eastern sector in the Tibet region including Arunachal Pradesh while Lanzhou looked after the partly the western sector, including the Kashmir region and Pakistan.
As per the new strategic zone plan, both Chengdu and Lanzhou get integrated into the strategic command region, making it perhaps the biggest areas for Chinese military.
Lanzhou which looks after the border Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Afghanistan has been active in recent years battling the two way crossings of Uyghur Islamic militants from Xinjiang.
The unified joint command system that Xi initiated will end the army dominated set up with more role for airforce and navy which are on a massive modernisation under the $145 annual defence budget.
The overhaul is aimed at moving away from an army-centric system towards a Western-style joint command in which the army, navy and air force are equally represented.
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