In his first order of the new year to the country’s armed forces, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the need for “full-time combat readiness” and said the People’s Liberation Army must use frontline frictions to polish troop capabilities.
Xi, who also chairs China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), the top command body, said the PLA must be ready to “act at any second” as the country’s armed forces kicked off the year’s military training and exercises on Monday.
He also ordered the PLA to “substantially increase” the use of technology in its exercises, and to keep up with the latest developments in military and hi-tech knowledge. These included the use of computer simulations and online combat in drills, as well as exploration of more opportunities to add hi-tech and the internet – known as tech+ and web+ – in training.
“[The PLA must] increase the integration of new equipment, new forces and new combat realms into training and combat systems,” he said.
Notably, Xi’s remarks about the PLA’s current “frontline military struggles” were a departure from previous year-opening orders – including 2020 – which instructed the armed forces to “manage crises and deter war”.
While he did not specify the frontline struggles, 2020 saw the worst conflict in decades with India, in the southwestern border region, which led to more than 20 Indian deaths and an undisclosed number of Chinese casualties. The two sides remain locked in a prolonged stand-off in the frozen Himalayas.