China's Xi talks of war amidst border standoff with India

23 September 2014

Chinese President Xi JinpingChinese President Xi Jinping on Monday asked the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to be combat ready to win a "regional war", amidst aggressive postures by the Chinese army inside Indian territory, in Chumar in eastern Ladakh.

Home ministry sources said the Chinese troops have been "quite aggressive" in the past few days and even forced Indian troops to make a tactical retreat about two kilometres deep inside Indian territory at one of the eight points in Chumar where the standoff continues.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has amassed over 1,000 troops in Chumar, pushing the Indian side to station an equal number of troops to hold forth in the high-altitude area, in sub-zero temperatures, for the last 12 days.

The Chinese president, who is back from his last week's three-day tour of India, has directed the PLA to make sure that all decisions from the central leadership are strictly followed.

"Headquarters of PLA forces must have absolute loyalty and firm faith in the Communist Party of China, guarantee a smooth chain of command and make sure all decisions from the central leadership are fully implemented," said Xi, chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

"Headquarters of all PLA forces should improve their combat readiness and sharpen their ability to win a regional war in the age of information technology," the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.

Xi's statement directing the PLA to be ready for a "regional war" assumes significance in the context of repeated incursions into Indian territory along the Line of Actual Control even during the time of his visit.

Commentators say China is playing a double-game by sending a "strategic message" through a "tactical faceoff", which clearly indicates that there is a disconnect between what the Chinese President Xi Jinping told PM Narendra Modi at their summit here last week and what he told the PLA commanders.

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