Did Chinese President Xi Jinping just call India an invading enemy?

What appeared as a response to Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s remark, Chinese President Xi Jinping today said that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China was capable of defeating all its enemies.

The statement of Xi Jinping assumes significance in the backdrop of the references to 1962 war made by Chinese foreign office spokespersons over Doklam standoff with India.

In an interesting development, the PLA soldiers called Xi Jinping “Zhu Xi Hao” meaning “Hail the Chairman” or “Salute to the Chairman.”

XI JINPING NEEDLES INDIA?

Chinese President made the remarks at the military parade held to celebrate the foundation of the PLA. This was the first occasion since the PLA was set up in 1927 that the Army Day parade was held in China.

According to a Xinhua report, Xi Jinping said, “The People’s Liberation Army has confidence and capability in defeating all invading enemies and protecting China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests.”

Earlier in June, as the Indian Army and the PLA soldiers jostled with each other at Doklam plateau in Bhutan, Bipin Rawat had said that his forces were “ready for a two-and-a-half front war.”

On his party, Xi Jinping may just have betrayed China’s nervousness over Doklam standoff. There is huge domestic pressure on Xi Jinping which stops him from asking the PLA troops to withdraw. Jinping does not want to show any sign of weakness ahead of the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China.

THE ARMY DAY PARADE

The official foundation day of the PLA falls on August 1, when a grand celebration is planned for the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Army. It was the first time that a military parade was held at the Zhurihe training base in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

However, this is not the first time that China held a military parade. But, most of previous military parades of Chinese Army were at Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing. A similar parade is still expected in Beijing on August 1.

It was also the first time, when a Chinese President inspected the army at Zhurihe and was the guest of honour at the celebration. China has developed Zhurihe training centre as an answer to the Fort Irwin National Training Centre of the United States.

CHINA SHOWS ITS MILITARTY MUSCLE

At Zhurihe, Xi Jinping rode a roofless military vehicle wearing a camouflage uniform while he inspected about 12,000 military personnel of the PLA. The original plan, as some Chinese media reports suggest, was to have greater participation of the PLA officials and soldiers, but number was curtailed down to 12,000 in the wake of Doklam standoff.

More than 3,000 soldiers each of the Indian Army and the PLA are in eyeball encounter at the Doklam plateau in Bhutan. China has accused India of challenging its sovereignty by sending its soldiers to Doklam.

India, in turn, has said that China has violated the 2012 understanding whereby the three countries of the region including Bhutan will not try to alter the status quo on the border unilaterally. The soldiers are staying put at about 150 metres from one another.

With this in background, Xi Jinping became the first Chinese President to wear PLA uniform during a military parade, where China showcased its latest military devices. One report suggests that about 40 per cent of the modern military devices of the PLA were displayed to the public at Zhurihe for the first time.

XI JINPING, THE CHAIRMAN

Xi Jinping has been consolidating his power in the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government ever since he became the general secretary of the party in 2012 and country’s President the next year.

In the party, Xi Jinping removed Sun Zhengcai, who was considered as a potential successor. Zhengcai was close to former premier Wen Jiabao and one the youngest members of the politburo of the Communist Party of China.

Jinping wants greater control over the party and is expected to get what he wants in the 19th Congress of the CPC later this year.

On military front, Xi Jinping carefully planned the transition from “Shouzhang” (core leader) to Zhuxi or Zhu Xi (the chairman). Today’s was the third occasion when Jinping presided over an unusual military parade.

It started with a military parade in Beijing in September 2015 to mark 70th anniversary of China’s victory against Japan. Back then, Xi Jinping was called ‘Shouzhang’.

Jinping inspected another military parade in June in Hong Kong to mark the 20th anniversary of its handover from the United Kingdom to China. During this event, Jinping had conveyed the message that at the next military parade, he should be called Zhu Xi or the Chairman.

No leader since Mao Zedong has been addressed as the chairman in China. The PLA soldiers today addressed Xi Jinping as the Chairman – an acknowledgment that he is the most powerful Chinese President since the founder of Communist China.

By: India Today

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