Military Digest | Poised Against India: The PLA’s Western Theatre Command

Written by Mandeep Singh Bajwa

Published: July 27, 2020 7:09:39 pm

Chinese mechanised infantry with their infantry combat vehicles on exercise. (Representational image)

Soon after coming to power in 2012 after the usual behind-the-scenes, hidden power struggle general secretary Xi Jinping announced that China would initiate restructuring of the military. The reform process started in right earnest in 2015. The grand target was to make the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) a world-class (and world-conquering?) military by 2025. Intermediate goals were to make it fully mechanised by 2020 and to develop it into a wholly informatized entity by 2035.

These reforms included reforming the Central Military Commission’s organizational configuration, the creation of force-multiplying strategic entities like the Strategic Support Force (SSF) and the Joint Logistic Support Force (JLSF) and the creation of theatre commands for refining jointness. A key feature was that new effective weapons systems were to be developed. Modernisation and the resultant improvements in firepower and combat readiness coupled with the increased accent on training have made the PLA a more buoyant, aggressive force. This has been reflected in its renewed eagerness to enter into a face-off with India after the Doklam…

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