Lack of Recent Combat Experience a ‘Significant Weakness’ for PLA, Says US Congress Report

China’s President Xi Jinping in 2017 announced Beijing’s intention to transform the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a “world-class” fighting force by the mid-21st century. A new US Congress report says that China is already “eroding” the military advantages of the American forces in certain warfare areas.

A new report by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) has described China’s lack of recent combat experience as a significant weakness for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which otherwise is competing with US forces for global military supremacy.

PLA officials frequently refer to a ‘peace disease’ endemic in the force, and worry that troops who have never seen battle will become complacent and struggle to maintain readiness,” states the report published by the CRS, a US Congress organisation dating back to 1914.

The report noted that the PLA last fought a full-scale war in 1979, when the PLA mounted an offensive against China’s southern neighbour Vietnam. Since 1949, the PLA has been involved in a “full-scale war” on only three occasions — the Korean War (1950-1953), the 1962 China-India war, and the 1979 China-Vietnam war.

The deadly clashes between Chinese forces and the Indian Army at the Galwan Valley in the disputed Ladakh border region last June is categorised as a “non-war” act in PLA parlance, as per the American report.

The report says that the PLA’s ground forces in particular have been “struggling” to train personnel and…

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